The arrival of strong, lightweight exoskeletons has the potential to address back pain for industries worldwide. See which sectors could benefit most.

By Matt Marino, HeroWear Director of Ergonomics & Human Factors

Back pain is a problem. It hurts workers, impacts business, and costs billions. And if you’re reading this, you probably know that first-hand and are looking for a way to manage the risk. You’re also likely aware that solving the problem with traditional ergonomics and safety approaches is very difficult. So asking if exoskeleton adoption is a solution is a logical next step.

You’ve come to the right place.

As a certified professional ergonomist (CPE) and consultant, I’ve worked with hundreds of workers in multiple industries since exoskeletons came on the scene around 2015, and I’ve personally worn over 35 different exoskeletons to get a good feel for them. Over the years I’ve learned to listen carefully to the workers doing the difficult jobs. They often already know the best solutions to the problems they face—and whether new solutions like exoskeletons will stand a chance of being acceptable in their line of work.

With this knowledge, I want to share what I’ve learned and how new back-assist exo technology stands ready to help reduce back strain, fatigue, and risk of injury.

Back pain is a great enemy to worker health.

It’s no secret: For many workers, back pain is their biggest problem. Injury data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) makes this fact very clear. And it’s corroborated in a recent CDC report by Free et al (2020) where back pain was singled out as a major problem in a large survey.

Injuries by body part for all and selected occupations in 2016. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Back injuries prominent in work-related musculoskeletal disorder cases in 2016.

The data has been this way for a long time. And it’s important to remember that each statistic represents thousands of individual workers who live and work with back pain and fatigue. Which is why they’re open to a new solution.

Workers are ready to adopt strong, lightweight exos.

Because back pain is such an apparent problem, workers are open minded about using back-assist exoskeletons. While existing devices have not seen widespread adoption, that’s ready to change. The HeroWear Apex exosuit launched Mar. 30, 2020. It puts a whole new spin on exoskeleton technology and breaks down critical barriers that hindered other devices.

The HeroWear Apex was designed to give workers in numerous industries what they have been asking for from exoskeletons: strength that is comfortable, agile, and reliable. The Apex is the first exo that is extremely comfortable for both genders, with male and female specific designs. Its modularity means that it can fit almost anyone. It is lightweight, easy to use, versatile, unobtrusive, easy to clean and sanitize, and very low maintenance. It is also the first exosuit with an on/off switch to engage and disengage the assistance on demand. Just as important, the Apex is very effective at reducing low back strain and fatigue.

In short, the Apex is exactly what working men and women have been asking for—an Exo For All with the right ingredients to make it applicable, useful, acceptable, and beneficial for the industries where it’s needed most.

These 5 giant industries could benefit.

As a certified workers compensation healthcare provider (CWcHP), I’ve seen back pain’s impact on workers and the big cost it has on business. But for each of the following industries, exoskeleton use and adoption could mean that weight is over.

Stay tuned to Exosphere the next five weeks as we dive into each industry and explore the impact that the adoption of strong, lightweight exoskeletons could make.

For all the workers out there who have been asking for a safe, reliable, and effective back-assist exo that you can wear all day, every day, we have your back. We’ve created the world’s first Exo For All for you—so the weight is over, wherever you work.

Meet the Apex

Schedule a demo with HeroWear to see how the Apex gives your team the strength they need and the safety they deserve.

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