Robotic safety in the workplace

| Jul 20, 2015 | Firm News, Workers' Compensation

As technology advances, more and more workers in Tennessee perform jobs around robots. This can be hazardous if employers do not take appropriate safety precautions. After the first robot-related fatality occurred in 1984, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published safety guidelines for people who work near robots.

One of the key aspects of robotic safety is designing a safe robotic workstation. A robot will likely require more space to perform a task than a human would need. According to safety guidelines, a robotic workstation should be surrounded by a fence that is equipped with an electrical interlocking gate. When the gate is opened, this should cause the robot to stop working.

Employers should make sure that the controls for operating a robot are not located near the robot’s moving parts. There should also be safety mechanisms in place to prevent the controls from being operated accidentally. Employers are also advised to make sure that the robot can be shut off using easily accessible emergency stops. All workers who will be operating the robot or working around the robot should be trained in robotic safety.

A worker could be injured while working around a robot because of an unsafe work environment, human error or lack of training. Whatever factors contributed to a workplace accident, an injured worker may be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that can include the provision of medical care as well as a percentage of wages lost if the victim is forced to miss work for an extended period. An attorney can often be of assistance in the preparation and submission of the required claim.

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