Integrator feedback – Marjorie Klein, Elior
“In general, we didn’t adopt exoskeletons as an installation of a device but as an important component of the workstation layout.”
Feedback from Marjorie KLEIN, health and safety coordinator at Elior, on her health and safety approach, before and after the integration of the Japet.W exoskeleton.
Elior provides collective catering services for its clients, which may be companies, schools, or medical-social establishments. The company has the main client to satisfy, but also the guests through the distributed meals.
What were the problems before you set up the exoskeleton?
When I arrived at Elior, I realized that there were different types of constraints, with repetitive movements but also employees who had been exhausted by years of work. Prevention and safety in the workplace have changed a lot in 20 years, as has the way risks are taken into account.
We have several constraints: we are an external company for a user company, so we do not control the layout of the premises, the surfaces, the equipment provided by the customer, which leads to constraints of space, structure and sometimes floors, which do not necessarily allow us to introduce a cart even at a constant level. Overall, we are very dependent on the structures which are provided.
Secondly, we can produce up to 5,000 meals in one location for delivery to other locations. To provide our services, we have load carrying constraints since we have to transport meals for delivery in a limited time frame.
“Our services involve load carrying, repetitive movements and additional stresses that can generate work-related accidents.”
What was your approach before choosing our Japet.W exoskeleton?
Faced with these problems, I wondered how we could arrange a job while taking into account the constraints we have.
I said to myself that we had to find a process that was structured, progressive and homogenous for the whole of France. That’s why I established a complete process that goes from the detection of the need to the test and the selection of the device.
Once the system is installed, a notebook is given to the employee, which makes it possible to follow him or her for a period of 2 years. Depending on the system, there will be more or less appointments. There are systems that will require more regular follow-up and others that will be a little bit simpler. It was also necessary for the approach to be multidisciplinary, integrating medical officers, coordinators, job retention services and occupational health and life services (SSVT).
“The device is only one part of the workstation arrangement. If we don’t do the rest, the implementation of the device can’t work.”
We are in a complete process up to the modification of the Single Occupational Risk Assessment Document regarding the integration of the exoskeleton.
How did you integrate the Japet.W exoskeleton?
Following our health and safety at work approach, we opted for the Japet.W exoskeleton, which corresponded to the needs of our Chef suffering from low back pain.
It allows us to accompany him in his cooking gestures: cleaning vegetables, peeling them, cutting them, and putting them in place, all while remaining in a standing and static posture that puts a lot of strain on the back.
To complete the workstation layout, we have installed a sink riser, a cart, and a variable height preparation table to avoid bending the back and having a lumbar strain.
Since the integration of the exoskeleton, have you noticed any changes?
We have observed positive changes in the teams. It is important to take the necessary time to accompany the employee because beyond the adaptation of the position and the rules of safety at work to be respected, it is also to show respect, to listen and to exchange with him or her, simply a return to human values.
“Take the time to give trust and respect, to the value of the employee as an individual, fully in control of their position.”
When I talk about value, it is a human value, a value of know-how. If you take that piece away from the team puzzle, there will be a big lack of cohesion. I want them to be aware that they are not just numbers.
It’s important for our employees to know that we care about them too, and that safety is not just about constraints, it can be about great things. There is a positive snowball effect within the team, with a physical and social effect, by rebound CSR.
For our Chef, Thierry, standing for 2 hours to serve at the self-service restaurant was extremely painful. He was happy to say to himself “Even if I don’t go back to the self-service restaurant every day, I’ll be able to go back and talk to the guests again“, this gives another dimension and value to his work. When you produce food, you produce it to make a guest happy.
What do you like most about the exoskeleton solution?
It’s innovative, you have to keep up with the times. In terms of safety at work, you musknow how to challenge yourself to move towards a new technology and see how it can be integrated.
For my part, it was not to do CSR, I was very surprised at the extent of the process, because at the beginning, I did it in a humble way, for the employee. It’s definitely a human approach above all else.
“The idea is to use this innovative, fast-moving technology to serve an employee and retain skills, which is what attracted me to this.”
For which task(s) and position(s) would you recommend the exoskeleton?
Delivery driver, warehouse worker, and for people with back problems, on production.
If you had to summarize your Japet experience?
For me, it’s an experience of trust and human contact. We often have the image of a start-up as young innovators full of energy who progress quickly, it’s true but here I also found the family spirit.
I was also able to meet Jean-François CRAIPEAU, blacksmith and user of the Japet.W exoskeleton, who gave me another dimension on pain management.
“When you prepare a meal, you lay out an appetizer that you put in a display case. You do it with love, because it’s your job, but you have to be free of constraints to do it that way.”
A word to wrap up?
People only think of the exoskeleton as something innovative, robotic and productivity accelerating, but that’s not it. We’re not going to make superhumans.