Bowing is an increasingly heavy part of a multi-day job. In Finland, every fifth man and every seventh woman work on their backs for 1-2 hours a day.
Bowing problems are common in buildings and industry. There is also a lot of awkward lifting in care work.
Kurotus upward hands on the top also strain, especially the shoulders and arms.
Almost every tenth Finn has to keep their hands up at work for longer periods of time. Working repeatedly with your hands raised is not just about industrial work. Dentistry and barbers, for example, are also a strain on the hands.
The load can be reduced, according to a recent study by the National Institute of Occupational Health. In Finland, a strengthening backbone, exoskeleton, has been tried in heavy work.
Exoskeleton is literally an “external backbone”. This is the case with many insects.
In human use, exoskeleton most often means an outfit that is worn over like a vest. It has hydraulics and springs, often batteries. Together, they reduce strain on heavy lifts, for example.
“The backbone can reduce muscle strain by 10-40 percent,” says a specialist at the National Institute of Occupational Health Satu Mänttäri. It can mean up to tens of pounds in a single lift.
“It’s really a lot,” he says. He studied the effect of support frames Juha Oksan with. Oksa also works at the National Institute of Occupational Health.
National Institute of Occupational Health found out by measurements how much different exoskeletons could relieve strain. It was measured at three construction sites in Lohja, Oulu and Vaasa, as well as in a laboratory. The support frames were tested by 30 employees.
Exoskeletons can be classified as passive and active. Passive provides support to different parts of the body. Active support frames operate by motors, hydraulics or pneumatics.
In pneumatics, power is provided by gas pressures and flows, in hydraulics by flowing fluids.
The advanced support frames are light and vest-like. They weigh just a few pounds.
Good the passive support frame stores the user’s kinetic energy in the springs and joints of the support frame.
The device releases the energy it stores at the right moment. In this way, it supports working positions or assists in the secondary lifting of heavy loads.
With the help of the support straps, the load is evenly applied to the muscles of the shoulder and upper or lower back, Mänttäri says.
In the automotive industry, for example, it has been found in the automotive industry that external support frames reduce neck and shoulder pain.
Work productivity also improved, says carmaker Ford. It tested the backbone at various factories around the world. At worst, the worker is forced to assemble the chassis of the car raise your hand more than 4,000 times a day.
In Finland musculoskeletal disorders are the most common occupational health problems. They are a common cause of absences.
Back and shoulder problems are especially troublesome for the elderly. Individual and customized exoskeletons could help them.
Work ergonomics is a traditional way to avoid ailments. Now a new technique should be available to help you learn lifting and other techniques. The support frames are lighter all the time, and the equipment is easy to put on at the beginning of the working day.
Disadvantages is. Researchers have found that keeping your hands elevated for a long time with the help of a support frame, in turn, increases the stiffness of the upper back.
The auxiliary device therefore creates a new problem. Ideally, it would be possible to distribute the strain to the whole body using the device.
In addition, the external backbone may feel uncomfortable. The device does not fit everyone’s body. It can weigh too much. Someone can also experience it as an ugly outfit.
National Institute of Occupational Health now wants to create a tool for evaluating the backbone. It would determine when and in what types of work the use of an exoskeleton is justified.
The results will help manufacturers develop support frames. In Finland, there is a clear desire in the workplace to test support frames, the researchers say.
“The Corona Age already taught us to use new accessories such as masks and visors. They have also paved the way for the use of external support frames, ”says Mänttäri.
Sitting at work has its own burdens. Maybe support devices will also help with office problems in the future?
First, the neck-shoulder area and back numbness come to mind.
Read more: A body that can and does – Duunari got a power armor and it helps with lifting up to tens of kilos