Using avatars to manage MSDs risk

At IOSH 2019, David Rowbotham, Global Head of Health and Safety for Bupa, will explore how their care home business in Spain, Sanitas Mayores, has used the latest technology to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for its carers. We asked him more about his session and what delegates will gain

How big a risk are MSDs to your employees and how do you manage this risk?

Moving and handling residents in our care homes is the among the most hazardous activities that Bupa carers undertake.

Our care home business in Spain, Sanitas Mayores, had firstly applied a traditional approach to manual handling to keep our people healthier and minimise musculoskeletal injuries. To further minimise injury and ill health, they identified an innovative methodology to increase awareness of safe lifting techniques and improve employee engagement. The project digitised our risk assessment process.

What will be the focus of your IOSH 2019 session?

The case study will demonstrate a virtual ergonomics project. Our carers wore sensors to monitor how and when they moved. This data was then translated into an onscreen avatar.

The avatars provided a digital representation of the posture, repetitive movements, forces exerted, frequency and repetition of movements and the durations of movements.

This technique allowed us to develop bespoke audio-visual resources for our carers, providing information on good and poorer practices. We were also able to analyse the biomechanical requirements of the tasks, so we could adapt jobs and work equipment.

Our conference session will outline how our workforce is healthier and happier and our residents are safer through our innovative, digital approach to movement and handling.

How will your presentation challenge delegates?

The project challenged us in a number of ways, and we will present these challenges to the delegates for consideration:

  • Required extensive collaboration between ourselves, our operational teams and technology professionals. All parties had to be invested in and engaged in a shared objective.
  • Required openness to replacing a time-tested approach with a digital technique that had not be used previously in the care sector in Spain.
  • Required acceptance that if we wanted a different outcome, we had to do things differently ourselves.

How will the session benefit delegates in their own workplace?

In taking our learnings around innovation, the session will support change management, collaboration and digitisation in their own workplace occupational health and safety challenges.

The session will cover three main points:

  1. The positive impact on our workforce of digitisation and innovation
  2. Human-centred technology is a tool to improve employee engagement in their occupational health and safety
  3. Programmes that improve the health of our workforce are a triple win: our employees benefit, our customers benefit and the business benefits.

Hear from David and Maria Jose Casellas Gresa, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Sanitas Mayores, at IOSH 2019 at the ICC Birmingham from 16-17 September. Check out the programme and book your place here.

Marcus Boocock
Communications Officer +44 (0)116 257 3139
  • MSDs
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Occupational Health surveillance
  • Leadership
  • Care Services
  • Opinion