AIM: To evaluate the effect of a shoulder exoskeleton on muscle activity and to compare the effect with a lifting glove among slaughterhouse workers in occupational settings.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a crossover study of 26 workers measured during two work days with and without the use of a passive shoulder exoskeleton and a lifting glove at a Danish slaughterhouse. Electromyography sensors were placed bilateral on 5 shoulder muscles. The 10th, 50th, and 90th percentiles of muscle activity normalized by maximal voluntary contractions were measured and analyzed using mixed effect models.
RESULTS: For the 50th percentiles of the agonist muscles, the exoskeleton reduced muscle activity bilaterally for deltoid anterior with up to 29.47%, deltoid middle with 10.22%, and upper trapezius with 22.21%. The lifting glove only reduced muscle activity for right deltoid anterior (36.59%) and upper trapezius (7.11%), but generally increased left muscle activity with up to 15.58.
DISCUSSION: The exoskeleton showed larger reductions in muscle activity compared to the lifting glove.