Exoskeletons: the new Uni/Tr 11950 standard has been published


Emma Potter

Uni/Tr 11950 standard: the working group

The document is the result of the work of the group UNI/CT 042/SC 01/GL 16 “Safety and health of wearable devices to facilitate work activities”coordinated by Luigi Monicaresearcher of DITSIPIA (Department of technological innovations and safety of plants, products and anthropic settlements) INAIL, and participated by researchers and professionals with the patronage of the “Safety” Commission, chaired by Fabrizio Benedettigeneral coordinator of the Ctss (Technical consultancy for health and safety) INAIL.

The group, which carries out its activity in close coordination with the working group GL 06 “Anthropometry and biomechanics” of the “Ergonomics” Commission and the working group GL 09 “Robots and robotic systems” of the “Machine tools” Commission, has seen the involvement of: designers, developers, producers, safety technicians of organizations that use such equipment, occupational health experts, experts appointed by trade unions and employers' associations, universities, associations active in the sector of health, safety and training at work .

Fundamental principles and classification of exoskeletons

One of the key aspects of the standard Uni/Tr 11950 is the definition of one common terminology for exoskeletonsdivided in active And passive depending on the type of assistance they offer the user.

The rule also establishes: criteria detailed for the design and the construction of these devices, ensuring that they are not only effective but also safe for the wearer.

Particular attention is given to the work sectors where their employment can bring the greatest benefits, such as those they foresee lifting loads or activity in prolonged fixed positions.

Potential and risks associated with the use of exoskeletons

The standard explores not only the potential of exoskeletons in reduce the risks of musculoskeletal diseases related to work, but also possible dangers deriving from their improper use. It is essential, therefore, that the introduction of such devices in the workplace is preceded by a accurate risk assessmentfollowed by one adequate training for users.

The goal is to prevent technology, although advanced, from becoming a source of new problems rather than a solution to existing ones.

When traditional measures are not enough

The standard proposes a systemic approach to the prevention of workplace risks, suggesting that exoskeletons should be considered as part of a broad spectrum of solutions, which include the reorganization of work and the ergonomic adaptation of workplaces. When traditional measures they are not enough to mitigate risks, exoskeletons can offer a valuable alternativeprovided they are correctly integrated into the working context.

Therefore, the aim of the technical-scientific work of the Uni report is to evaluate the contribution of these devices and analyze their contribution to risk reduction, examining any residual risks and those that may derive from their use in the various work sectors.

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