A high percentage of workers in logistics facilities, such as parcel distribution centers and warehouse settings, experience musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from lifting the equivalent of a Boeing 747 airplane, on average, over 5 workdays, according to a new study for North America from Ottobock.

To address the issue of workplace injuries and enable companies to improve occupational health and safety, Ottobock announces its expansion in the US with a logistics-focused customer success team based in Austin, Texas, and the availability of a wearable exoskeletal device called Paexo Back.

Worn by workers like a backpack, the Paexo Back is designed with precision to help prevent back injuries and alleviate back pain, the company notes in a media release.

“[Paexo Back] provides the ability to reduce the risk of workers’ back injuries and transform how logistics companies support and protect their workforce with an industrial-grade solution. By making Paexo Back generally available in North America, we are enabling companies to take practical and effective action to drive down the increasing problem of musculoskeletal disorders.”

— Dr. Sönke Rössing, Head of Industrials at Ottobock

Wearable Exoskeleton

The Ottobock Paexo Back is a wearable exoskeleton that relieves pressure on a person’s back while the person is lifting an object. It is equipped with a control at the hip that automatically distinguishes between bending and walking and switches itself off during walking. The load is supported on the shoulders and transferred to the legs with the help of the exoskeleton’s support structure. Weighing just over 8 pounds, it can be put on and off in seconds, worn comfortably all day, and does not need an energy supply.

A scientific study was conducted to analyze the effectiveness of wearing an exoskeleton while lifting boxes and other objects in a logistics facility. An environment simulating a real logistics facility was used. The cumulative effect of carrying heavy items during full-time shifts over a 5-day work week in a typical parcel distribution center is equivalent to the effect of carrying a Boeing 747 airplane one’s back. With Paexo Back, however, this load on the spine can be eliminated by up to 100%, Ottobock suggests in the release.

“Expanding our operations in the U.S. is an exciting opportunity to help logistics companies improve injury prevention. Our innovation with Paexo Back will empower logistics companies to create safer and more ergonomic work environments for manual load handling.”

— Samuel Reimer, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ottobock Industrials North America, based in Austin

[Source(s): Ottobock, Business Wire]

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