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Global QHSE award for Swissport wearable tech project

The trial of an innovative new wearable technology product to help boost manual handling safety has won one of four Swissport Global QHSE Awards.

As part of the trial, employees are 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.

The trial commenced in May 2019 with employees at Melbourne Airport and has since been expanded to several more locations across Australia.

Swissport General Manager Systems and Safety Pacific Lincoln Butler said he believes wearable technology such as SoterSpine 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,” he said.

“Swissport is committed to setting the industry benchmark in health and safety and we are always looking for new ways to help keep our team safe and well.”

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.

Swissport sward winners were selected by the QHSE Council which is chaired by Swissport senior managers and were evaluated on three main criteria: “People Engagement”, “Impact on Results” and “Innovation”.

The SoterSpine project received the Swissport Global QHSE Health and Safety Award, with other winners as follows:

  • Customer Experience: Three initiatives to increase security and efficiency of cargo handling were introduced at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, South-Korea.
  • Outstanding Personal Engagement: A ramp agent’s actions assisted a maintenance worker suffering from heatstroke in Japan, thanks to a yearly anti-heatstroke educational campaign.
  • Environment: Swissport’s fleet team in Sao Paulo, Brazil introduced an innovative new waste management system in the GSE workshop. The workshop has been certified with the “Green Seal” for its commitment to environmental sustainability.

In 2018, Swissport International AG provided best-in-class airport ground services for some 282 million airline passengers and handled roughly 4.8 million tons of air freight in 115 cargo warehouses worldwide. Several of its warehouses have been certified for pharmaceutical logistics by IATA’s CEIV. The world’s leader in airport ground services and air cargo handling, with 66,000 employees, achieved consolidated operating revenue of 2.99 billion euros in 2018. At the end of September 2019, Swissport was active at 307 airports in 48 countries on six continents.


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

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