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A New ‘Exoskeleton’ Suit May Help Greatly Reduce Chicago Airport Baggage Handlers’ Risk of Musculoskeletal Injuries

Sometimes, the development of futuristic technology may be the source of social media humor, with “meme” pictures joking that the new technology has set us on the path to dangerous machines like those seen in the Terminator movies. In the real world and in all seriousness, these new technologies often have very positive real-world applications for many people doing their daily work. For example, a new “exoskeleton” product may be a huge boost for safety and well-being among airport baggage handlers. These exoskeletons are still in the experimental phase, though. For now, baggage handlers have to rely solely on their own strength and, as a result, are very often at risk for musculoskeletal injuries. If that happens to you, you need to take action promptly and seek out a knowledgeable Chicago airline workers’ compensation attorney, who can help you with the workers compensation claim process and all other legal processes you need to complete.

In early January in Las Vegas, a Utah company named Sarcos unveiled something it called Guardian XO, according to FOX 13 in Salt Lake City. Guardian XO is a full-body exoskeleton that, according to the manufacturer, “lets a human lift up to 200 pounds repeatedly, for up to 8 hours at a time, without straining or getting tired.” The manufacturer also claims that “the user bears none of the weight of the exoskeleton or what it’s carrying.”

At least one major airline has expressed interest in the Utah company’s product. Delta Airlines has indicated that it plans to test the exoskeletons at a “pilot location” sometime in the first quarter of this year. Some Delta workers at the Salt Lake City airport have already tested the exoskeleton, with one expressing hope that “with this new exosuit it will help prevent a lot of injuries that may happen.”

Musculoskeletal injuries are common among baggage handlers

Hopefully, indeed. Baggage handling is a dangerous job. A particularly heavy, large or strangely shaped bag could cause a worker to use “excessive force and awkward postures,” according to OSHA. Those things increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. The task of lifting, carrying and dropping bags repeatedly over an 8-hour shift can, even without any excessive force or awkward posture problems, contribute to musculoskeletal injuries.

Baggage handlers face even more subtle risks of harm, too. The relatively simple task of grabbing a single bag in one hand, or grabbing a pair of bags where one is light and the other very heavy, can lead to problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs, according to OSHA. Research has shown that nearly three-quarters of all baggage handlers have, at some time, been forced to deal with some degree or pain or impairment as a result of the work they do.

If your work as a baggage handler and the years of physical stress brought on by those repetitive tasks has caused you to suffer an injury, then you may be entitled to collect workers compensation benefits. Before you can do that, though, you first have to complete the workers compensation claim process properly and on time, and then successfully navigate the procedures that follow. A failure to complete all the necessary forms, or to complete them correctly, can potentially delay or derail your receipts of benefits. The failure to provide the necessary supporting documentation and other proof also can potentially delay or derail your receipt of benefits.

That is why having an experienced legal representative on your side is so important. To be sure you’re clearing all those mandatory hurdles, retain the knowledgeable Chicago airline workers’ compensation attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys have many years of experience helping a wide variety of workers compensation clients, including airline workers, to get the benefits they deserve. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.

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