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Swissport trials wearable tech for safer manual handling

Leading aviation ground handler Swissport is trialling an innovative new wearable technology product to help boost manual handling safety for the company’s ramp and customer service workforce.

As part of the trial, Swissport’s Melbourne Airport employees will be offered a small (30mm x 50mm x 10mm) lightweight SoterSpine device to clip to their collar to measure body movements and force.

Wearers are alerted when they make a high-risk ergonomic movement and can immediately change their technique to avoid injury.

At the end of each shift, the worker can then access a 3-5-minute personalised improvement program with a virtual coach delivered by mobile app.

Swissport General Manager Systems and Safety Pacific Lincoln Butler said he believes wearable technology will be a major influencer on safe behaviour in manual handling.

“We have seen what fitness trackers and smartwatches have done for engaging people in their own general well-being and fitness, and I expect this type of simple, effective device will help drive more preventative behaviour at work,” Butler said.

SafeWork Australia reports that 45% of workplace injuries are caused by manual handling and costs the Australian economy $28 billion a year.

Product developer Soter Analytics reports that SoterSpine has demonstrated up to 70% improvements to most workers’ high-risk movements and a 99% satisfaction score from workers using the technology.

Around 80 Swissport ramp and customer staff at Melbourne Airport will trial the device over the next eight weeks and further trials are scheduled in other parts of the world.

Swissport was recently recognized with the “Innovator Award 2019” at the IATA Ground Handling Conference in Madrid for its role in developing the “LiftSuit”, a wearable exoskeleton designed to help to prevent musculoskeletal injuries amongst baggage handlers.

Swissport International AG, on behalf of more than 850 client-companies, provides best-in-class airport ground services for some 282 million passengers annually and handles approximately 4.8 million tons of air cargo at 122 warehouses worldwide. Several of its warehouses have been certified for Pharmaceutical Logistics by IATA’s CEIV. With a workforce of some 66,000, the world’s leading provider of airport ground services and air cargo handling is active at 303 airports in 50 countries on six continents. In 2018 the Group generated a consolidated operating revenue of EUR 2.99 billion.


Communications – Asia Pacific | Michelle Priebe | | +61 435 196 938

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