A hi-tech company in the U.S. state of California has made a robotic vest to help labor-intensive workers lift heavier objects with less strength, local media said Friday.
According to Ford, an average assembly line worker lifts their arms around a million times a year, leaving many of their employees at risk for injury.
This will reduce some of the strain that workers might experience when they operate a heavy power tool, like a drill, for long periods of time.
"Since I started using the vest, I'm not as sore, and I have more energy to play with my grandsons when I get home", said Ford assembly line worker Paul Collins.
This isn't the first time that Ford is placing importance on employees' safety and physical welfare, as its collaboration with Ekso Bionics is merely the latest and perhaps most technologically advanced of its methods so far.
The Ekso vests have been used on trial by workers at the U.S. car manufacturer Ford Motor Company, whose video shows their workers on the assembly line wearing the vests and doing overhead tasks.
EksoVest works by providing employees additional adjustable lift assistance of five to 15 pounds per arm.
"The end result is a wearable tool that reduces the strain on a worker's body, reducing the likelihood of injury, and helping them feel better at the end of the day - increasing both productivity and morale", Angold said.
Ekso began by developing exoskeletons for the military and medical fields, but branched out in manufacturing and construction in 2013.
From 2005 to 2016, Ford recorded an 83 percent decrease in injuries or incidents that resulted in days away, work restrictions or job transfers, to a rate of 1.55 incidents per 100 full-time employees.
"Our goal has always been to keep the work environment safe and productive for the hardworking men and women we rely on across the globe", said Bruce Hettle, Ford group vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Affairs.
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