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Preventing MSDs in the tiler profession: Guaranteeing the well-being of tilers

Despite the rewarding aspect of the tiler's profession, associated with the creation of aesthetic designs and the transformation of interior and exterior spaces, it does not escape the risks to the health of workers. Indeed, the rates of work accidents and occupational health problems in this field are among the highest among construction professionals.

Laying tiles, handling heavy equipment, as well as repetitive tasks such as cutting, surface preparation and site cleaning, expose tilers to the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

It is therefore essential for professionals in the tiling sector to implement effective preventive measures. Among these measures, the use of ergonomic exoskeletons adapted to the needs of tilers is essential. This equipment can help reduce physical constraints and prevent MSDs, while improving comfort and safety at work.

In addition, training and raising awareness of tilers in good ergonomic practices is also crucial to guarantee their well-being and prevent professional risks linked to their activity.

By combining these different preventive measures, it is possible to guarantee a safer and healthier working environment for tilers, while preserving the quality, precision and efficiency of their profession.

The 5 major risks inherent to the job of tiler

Tilers face various risks of accidents and health problems, some of which can have significant consequences, including:

1. MSD of the upper limbs: Repetitive actions related to laying tiles, cutting and handling tools can lead to MSD in the shoulders, arms and hands.

2. Back MSD: Prolonged postures and twisting movements required when laying tiles on vertical surfaces or when working on your knees can cause back MSDs.

3. Lower Extremity MSD: Squatting or kneeling while laying tiles, handling heavy loads, and frequent movement on job sites can increase the risk of MSDs in the legs, knees, and feet.

4. Neck MSD: Postures adopted while cutting tiles, laying on vertical surfaces and other activities related to the tiling profession can lead to MSDs in the neck and cervical area.

5. General fatigue and muscular stress: The physical demands of daily work, the repetition of technical movements and long hours spent working in uncomfortable positions can induce generalized muscular fatigue and stress on the whole body, thus increasing the risk of MSD.

It is therefore essential for tilers and professionals in the tiling sector to implement effective preventive strategies. Among these strategies, the use of ergonomic exoskeletons adapted to the specific movements and postures of the tiler profession can play an important role in reducing the risks of MSDs. By combining the use of ergonomic exoskeletons, training in good ergonomic practices and awareness of safe working techniques, it is possible to guarantee the long-term health and well-being of tilers.

Beyond pain: understanding MSD

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are diseases that affect the joints, muscles and tendons due in particular to biomechanical overload.

Given their high prevalence (they represent 87% of occupational illnesses in France) and their impacts both for employees (after-effects, etc.) and for companies (absenteeism, drop in productivity, health insurance contributions, etc.), it is necessary to implement concrete actions to remedy this.

Among these, it is possible to turn to exoskeletons.

Preventive measures for tilers: Promoting musculoskeletal health on tiling sites

In order to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among tilers, here are some essential preventive measures to adopt:

1. Workstation layout: Customize workstations by adjusting equipment to reduce physical strain, for example by providing height-adjustable cutting tables to minimize excessive bending and twisting of the back.

2. Use of ergonomic exoskeletons: Make available ergonomic exoskeletons adapted to the specific movements and postures of the tiler profession to reduce physical pressure on the upper limbs, back and lower limbs, as well as to relieve muscle fatigue.

3. Task rotation: Encourage task rotation to diversify movements and reduce repetitiveness, thus helping to prevent muscle fatigue and MSDs.

4. Taking regular breaks: Promote regular breaks during extended work periods, allowing tilers to rest and relax their muscles, with the use of ergonomic exoskeletons for back relief.

5. Medical and ergonomic monitoring: Offer regular medical monitoring to detect signs of MSD early and offer personalized ergonomic advice to optimize the use of exoskeletons and prevent injuries.

6. Training and awareness: Provide training on the risks of MSDs and good work practices, educate tilers on the appropriate use of ergonomic exoskeletons and their benefits in terms of musculoskeletal relief.

By combining these preventive measures, it is possible to guarantee a safer and healthier working environment for tilers, while preserving the quality, precision and efficiency of their profession.

What is an exoskeleton?

Exoskeleton-type Physical Assistance Devices (PADs) are ergonomic solutions which, as their name suggests, aim to reduce the biomechanical demands on workers.

Worn on the body like a backpack, these exoskeletons are completely passive (no motors, cylinders or other electronics) and operate using a principle of energy storage-restitution using springs made of composite materials.

Concretely, the exoskeletons developed by ErgoSanté make work easier, reduce fatigue, preserve health and maintain employment.

HAPO SD: the exoskeleton that relieves the back even when bending on the ground

The HAPO SD (Without Unlocking) is the simplest and most robust passive physical assistance device in the HAPO range. Both light (0.9 kg) and discreet, the HAPO SD was designed to partially redirect the efforts of the upper trunk (via pectoral support) towards the thighs.

Operating using spring rods made of composite material, the HAPO SD reduces the physical lumbar load of workers and thus helps preserve the intervertebral discs.

The optimal situations for the use of the HAPO SD exoskeleton are those requiring complete flexion of the trunk on the ground, static or dynamic.

During laboratory tests, it was shown that, compared to a situation without an exoskeleton, the HAPO SD reduced the demand on the back muscles by approximately -11%.