Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney and Product Liability Lawyer Reviews Robot Injuries at Ohio worksites
Industrial automation is becoming increasingly common in certain lines of production and manufacturing. Robotic machines have taken over many workplace tasks, which may increase productivity but also increases the risk of industrial robot injuries suffered at the workplace. Each company should have guidelines, training and safety requirements before employees are able to operate automatic equipment.
Robots are programmable and most of their actions are dictated by human control, so any robotic injuries may be the result of a lack of training or other management shortfalls. In short, employees should never be around machinery they don’t understand. Comprehensive training is critical for employees who work alongside machines, robots and other forms of automation.
Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati product liability lawyer and Ohio workplace negligence attorney reviewing robot injuries nationwide.
The Lyon Firm works with OSHA experts to investigate and determine whether poor management, safety violations, worker negligence or defective equipment caused an injury.
Common Industrial Robot Hazards
A lack of workplace safety standards in the robotic industry creates a number of safety hazards in industrial settings. According to OSHA, robot injuries and accidents occur during programming, program touch-up or refinement, maintenance, repair, testing, setup, and adjustment. Potential hazards to Ohio employees working with robots include:
- Control Errors—defects in a control system, software, electromagnetic interference, and radio frequency interference.
- Unauthorized Access—improper entry into a safeguarded area by workers can result in a serious robot injuries.
- Mechanical Failure—technical issues can result in the defective operation of a machine or robot. Such failures can be dangerous.
- Environmental Changes—sudden environmental causes of electromagnetic or radio-frequency interference can alter a robot’s performance. Power surges or power loss can make automation in the workplace hazardous.
- Power System Disruption—robot power sources can be disrupted and lead to malfunctions. Pneumatic, hydraulic or electrical power sources with malfunctioning elements in the power system can disrupt power-supply lines.
- Improper Installation—incorrect installation of a machine or robot can result in safety hazards
- Negligent Management—management may be responsible for faulty programming, interfacing, maintenance, or machine activation
Preventing Robot Injuries: Ohio Workplace Safety
OSHA lists potential hazards as to ensure proper programming, safeguard against power surges, apply fixed guards, placards, stickers, warnings, and adding barriers. Guards should be in place at all times. To minimize the risk of robot injuries and machine incidents, NIOSH offers the following recommendations regarding the design of robotic systems, the training of workers, and their supervision:
- Robotic System Design should include physical barriers that incorporate gates equipped with electrical interlocks so that operation of the robot stops when the gate is opened. Employers should provide barriers between robotic equipment and freestanding objects such as posts limiting robot arm movement. Employers should provide adequate clearance distances around all moving components of the robotic system, and adequate illumination in the control and operational areas of the robotic system.
- Training should be provided to workers who will be programming, operating, or maintaining robots. Also, refresher courses should take place to discuss new technological developments should be provided so all workers are familiar with the robot and known hazards. Workers should operate robots at reduced speeds consistent with adequate worker response to avoid hazards during programming and be aware of all conceivable pinch points.
- Supervisors should know that with time, experienced workers doing automated tasks may become complacent, overconfident, or inattentive to the hazards inherent in complex automated equipment. Close supervision of such operations is imperative.
If you have questions about compensation options after a workplace robot accident and injury in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403 for a free confidential consultation. Keep in mind that while your employer may encourage Workers Compensation, workers comp claims may not fully compensate an employee generously for serious injuries.