THEY TALK ABOUT ATLAS: Meeting with Mr Yonnel Giovanelli

« Atlas assists trunk mobility and bring back well-being at work. It is very positive ! 

In an interview with Japet, Mr Yonnel GIOVANELLI, Head of usability, human and organizational factors at SNCF (the national train operator of France’s railway network) and X35A “usability” expert at AFNOR (the French national organization for standardization) gives his first impressions of Atlas.

What are the impacts of the musculoskeletal disorders and especially low back pain for companies?

No matter how many work-related accidents happen in a company, it is always too high. In another hand, there are also some co-workers who are not on sick leave but suffer at work. Both have pain which limits their ability to work or carry out common tasks. To preserve the worker’s physical integrity, companies need to develop ergonomic workstations and improve processes, but when it is not possible, they need to find other solutions.

Why did you decide to implement Atlas in your organisation?

One of our operating unit managers located in Hellemmes, next to Lille in Northern France, had in his team some agents suffering from back pain and he was looking for a solution to help them. When he introduced Atlas, we were interested because of the assistive goal of the equipment. It doesn’t help to carry heavy loads but provides a lumbar traction to relieve pain while maintaining a complete trunk mobility. It is a good solution to assist the worker with back pain during painful episodes or back strains.

What is the feedback from the person who tested Atlas?

He feels a real difference. With Atlas, he feels supported and assisted. Without, the pain came on every Monday evening, but since he has Atlas, it significantly postpones the occurrence of back pain, without any discomfort in the carrying out of his duties. This is Atlas big positive point: the pain relief. This equipment assists trunk mobility, bring back well-being at work and limit at-risk postures, it is very positive!

What would be the next steps?

We were the first to implement Atlas onsite because this device fitted with a global approach undertaken by the company. The SNCF also develops his own modular exoskeleton to assist co-workers in their daily tasks. The objective is now to internally validate Atlas, so all the SNCF subsidiaries can buy the equipment according to their needs. It is important to remember that these types of equipment are not developed to work longer or faster, neither to lift heavier weights; it is a technical assistance for people that need to be integrated in a global process with workstation layout and ergonomics.

Do you have any advice for other companies?

Just try it!