With the advances in technology, industrial workers in Arizona have to learn a whole new set of safety precautions. While machinery safety previously applied to workers operating equipment, it now includes collaboration with machines -- or robots. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has established the Center for Occupational Robotics Research that will work on developing safety protocols for the interactions between humans and robots.
NIOSH says 61 workers lost their lives in robot-related workplace accidents from 1992 through 2015. However, robotic equipment has always been kept isolated in cages with little direct contact with workers. With rapidly evolving technology, more and more manufacturing plants now have collaborative robots that work alongside human employees.
A NIOSH spokesperson said this interaction presents brand new safety risks that are not yet fully understood. Safety and health authorities must establish safe integration policies without much government guidance. He said the Center for Occupational Robotics Research will provide scientific leadership to ensure that the workplace fatality rate does not increase as more robots are integrated into industrial facilities.
Arizona workers who have to get used to collaborating with robotic colleagues may be concerned about the new risks they face when it comes to machinery safety. However, the workers' compensation insurance system of the state will have the back of any worker who is injured in a robot-related workplace accident. As with all other injuries, medical expenses and lost income will be covered, and an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help to make sure the injured worker receives all applicable benefits.
Source: safetyandhealthmagazine.com, "NIOSH center to focus on.'safe integration of robots' in the workplace", Accessed on April 20, 2018