Evaluation of postural-assist exoskeleton for manual material handling

Ogunseiju, Omobolanle and Olayiwola, Johnson and Akanmu, Abiola and Olatunji, Oluwole ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9726-4218 (2022) Evaluation of postural-assist exoskeleton for manual material handling. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 29 (3). pp. 1358-1375. ISSN 0969-9988


Purpose: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders constitute a severe problem in the construction industry. Workers' lower backs are often affected by heavy or repetitive lifting and prolonged awkward postures. Exoskeletal interventions are effective for tasks involving manual lifting and repetitive movements. This study aims to examine the potential of a postural-assist exoskeleton (a passive exoskeleton) for manual material handling tasks. Design/methodology/approach: From an experimental observation of participants, the effects of postural-assist exoskeleton on tasks and workers were measured. Associated benefits of the exoskeleton were assessed through task performance, range of motion and discomfort. Findings: Findings suggest that the exoskeleton influenced discomfort significantly, however range of motion decreased with lifting tasks. The reduced back flexion and increased hip flexion were also indicatives of the participants' responsiveness to the feedback from the exoskeleton. In addition, task completion time increased by 20%, and participants' back pain did not reduce. Research limitations/implications: The work tasks were performed in a controlled laboratory environment and only wearable inertia measurement units (IMUs) were used to assess the risk exposures of the body parts. Practical implications: This study opens a practical pathway to human-exoskeleton integration, artificial regeneration or enablement of impaired workforce and a window toward a new order of productivity scaling. Results from this study provide preliminary insights to designers and innovators on the influence of postural assist exoskeleton on construction work. Project stakeholders can be informed of the suitability of the postural assist exoskeletons for manual material handling tasks. Originality/value: Little has been reported on the benefits and impact of exoskeletons on tasks' physical demands and construction workers' performance. This study adds value to the existing literature, in particular by providing insights into the effectiveness and consequences of the postural-assist exoskeleton for manual material handling tasks.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 23:26
Last Modified: 06 May 2022 02:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: Construction safety; Experimental studies; Technology
Fields of Research (2020): 33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3302 Building > 330299 Building not elsewhere classified
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3302 Building > 330206 Building science, technologies and systems
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3302 Building > 330203 Building industry studies
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 12 CONSTRUCTION > 1299 Other construction > 129999 Other construction not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-07-2020-0491
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/48053

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