Basic Causes For Accidents Associated With Robots In The Workplace

Robotics is a rapidly advancing technology field with many applications in the workplace. It can increase efficiency, reduce human error and improve safety. However, robots also have the potential to cause harm if they are not used safely and responsibly. This article will explore the types of hazards related to robotics and examine the steps employers should take to ensure their robots are safe for use in the workplace. With this information, we can help employers and employees understand the risks associated with robotics and reduce potential accidents.

Robot Systems

Robots load and unload stock, assemble parts, transfer objects, or perform other tasks. They accomplish many functions, such as material handling, assembly, arc welding, resistance welding, machine tool load/unload functions, painting/spraying, etc. According to OSHA, since 2000, most occupational accidents involving robots have been fatalities.

All industrial robots are either servo or non-servo controlled.

  • Servo robots are controlled by using sensors to continually monitor the robot’s axes for positional and velocity feedback information. This feedback information is compared on an ongoing basis to pre-taught information which has been programmed and stored in the robot’s memory.
  • Non-servo robots do not have the feedback capability to monitor the robot’s axes and velocity and compare it with a pre-taught program. Their axes are controlled through mechanical stops and limit switches to control the robot’s movement.

Types of Robot Hazards

Types of Robot Hazards

Using robotics in the workplace can also pose potential mechanical and human hazards.

  • Mechanical hazards might include workers colliding with equipment, being crushed, trapped by equipment, or being injured by falling equipment components.
  • Human errors can result in hazards both to personnel and equipment. Errors in programming, interfacing peripheral equipment, and connecting input/output sensors can all result in unpredicted movement or action by the robot, resulting in personnel injury or equipment breakage. The greatest human error results from becoming so familiar with the robot’s redundant motions that employees assume they know how the robot will move and place themselves in hazardous positions while programming or performing maintenance within the robot’s work zone.
Types of Robot Hazards

Robot Safety Requirements

To protect workers and their environment, employers must have a comprehensive robot safety program. This should include proper employee training, regular maintenance, and the implementation of safety devices.

  • Employee Training: All personnel working with or near robots should be thoroughly trained on robot safety procedures. Regular refresher courses should also be conducted.
  • Maintenance: All robots should undergo regular maintenance to ensure they function properly. Regular inspections of the robot’s components and sensors should also be conducted.
  • Safety Devices: Safety devices, such as light curtains, interlocking guards, emergency stop buttons, and trip wires, should be installed on all robots used in the workplace. These devices will help to prevent accidents and injuries by stopping the robot’s movement if something comes into contact with it.

Robot safety is essential for protecting personnel working near or with robots and those in the surrounding area. Employers must take all necessary steps to ensure their robots are safe and that proper safety protocols are being followed. Doing so can help reduce the chance of accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Robots offer numerous benefits to businesses, including increased efficiency and productivity. However, introducing robots into your workspace also brings several potential dangers that must be addressed to protect personnel and their environment. By taking the proper steps to train personnel, maintain robots regularly, and install safety devices, employers can help ensure that their robotic workspace is safe and compliant with all applicable regulations.

About Malik Imran

Hi, my name is Imran and I am a safety engineer currently working at ADNOC Company in the United Arab Emirates. I have over 6 years of experience in this field, which has allowed me to gain extensive knowledge and skills to ensure the safety of individuals and the environment in the workplace.

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