A new study out of North Carolina State University sheds some interesting light on how employees – some of them, anyway – view their robotic co-workers.
They blame them for workplace accidents – if they believe the robots are autonomous.
Researchers showed study participants scenarios of several workplace accidents involving both a human and a robot.
Safety in Amazon warehouses has been scrutinized by the media in recent years, particularly for interactions between humans and robots. TechCrunch reports that the online retail giant has been introducing a new worker safety wearable to 25+ sites to prevent accidents involving robotic systems in their warehouses.
With the recent focus on robots and worker safety, it may be surprising to learn that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) first addressed this issue 34 years ago. In 1984, the agency released safety recommendations for working with robots after an experienced operator of an automated die-cast system died when he became pinned between the back end of an industrial robot and a steel safety pole.
Robotics pose safety challenges in the workplace, Tennessee ash coal cleanup workers win a legal victory and an air traffic controller starts slurring her words while on duty. These were among the top occupational safety and health stories featured on ISHN.com this week.
Robots are becoming increasingly popular in workplaces around the globe, especially cobots, the machines designed to work next to humans. But when considering implementing any technology, it's essential to keep safety at the forefront.
What possibilities exist for robots malfunctioning and hurting people or otherwise compromising worker well-being?
Drilling into concrete can be dusty, loud, and physically exhausting. It also can expose workers to silica dust from sand and rock, which can damage the lungs if inhaled. Drilling also exposes workers to hand vibration and noise at levels well above recommended limits. Now, two NIOSH-funded studies through CPWR–The Center for Construction Research and Training and the University of California at Berkeley have identified ways to reduce these hazards.
Rockford Systems has highlighted five machine safeguarding trends that will be strategic for fabricators and manufacturers in 2018. Each has the potential to significantly impact or even disrupt entrenched processes, and may poise the need for investment by manufacturers that face the risk of not being in compliance with newer OSHA/ANSI codes, or being too late to adopt productivity-enhancing equipment.
It’s not science fiction: robots are invading our world in a big way. That invasion, fueled by dramatic advancements in technology that make the devices more sophisticated than ever, is resulting in their increased use in workplaces, among other spheres. With this in mind, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established a virtual Center for Occupational Robotics Research that will specifically address the safety and health implications for worker-robot interactions.
Skyrocketing demand for automation has dramatically increased the number of robots deployed by industry to over 1.5 million. Meanwhile, collaborative robots or "co-bots" are making their way into new work environments, such as light manufacturing, fulfillment centers, and agriculture.
Among the articles in the October 2020 issue of ISHN Magazine, we answer questions on dangerous dusts, discuss respiratory protection programs and the risks and benefits of smoke tubes, and learn how to get creative with training programs.