Workers at Morrison Utility Services are trialling the use of upper body exoskeletons to make heavy lifting easier.
The £5,650-a-time vests are being used on the contractor’s Yorkshire Water sites.
The Eksovets have also been trialled by Willmott Dixon on a school building job in Cardiff.
Morrison Utility Services’ ongoing trial programme includes:
- Lifting and handling activities in the company’s Normanton stores depot and around hoppers used by site clearance support teams;
- Supporting reinstatement teams using the company’s purpose-built Roadmender asphalt unit;
- Supporting backfill teams loading and unloading rammers onto the sides of vehicles.
Morrison Utility Services Executive Director John Edwards said: “ Augmenting human capability offers scope for significant safety, health and wellbeing benefits for our people working in the field, some of whom are involved in physically demanding, repetitive activities over extended periods of time.
“The benefits of this wearable technology will include reduced tiredness, a reduction in strain-related injuries and the ability for our people to work for longer periods without any detriment to their wellbeing.
“The use of exoskeletons could also help our sector tackle the ongoing skills shortage, as some members of the workforce could find that the use of such innovative wearable technology may help them carry out the more physical aspects of a job, thus opening up otherwise lost opportunities”