Can employees avoid injuries caused by robotic co-workers?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Employers the world over have embraced technological advancements designed to make the workplace more productive and efficient. Additionally, the increased usage of autonomous workers ensure that human employees are not tasked with repetitive jobs or projects that must be completed in a toxic or hazardous environment. Unfortunately, the introduction of robotic workers exposes human workers to different types of accidents.

Numerous industries have increasingly introduced robots into the workforce for several decades. From production and factory work to loading and warehouse work, these machines can prevent worker injuries while causing others, including:

  • Injuries caused by a collision with the robot: If the robot goes off its normal path or swivels, turns or twists unexpectedly, it can strike a human worker causing serious injuries.
  • Injuries caused by crushing or pinching: Whether pinched by a malfunctioning grasp arm or trapping a human worker against a wall or heavy machinery, an employee can become crushed suffering devastating injuries.
  • Injuries caused by mechanical failure: Parts malfunctions often cause these types of accidents. This can lead to shock injuries, chemical burns or slipping on leaking fluids.
  • Injuries caused by human operator error: If the programming of the robot is faulty or technicians make mistakes in setting up, repairing or controlling the robot, human workers can suffer serious injuries.

While the introduction of autonomous or robotic components to various industries have had numerous positive impacts on the modern workforce, it is far from an absolute improvement. Mechanization can eliminate jobs that could be potentially harmful, but also introduce new hazards. Even though human workers can avoid heavy lifting, repetitive stress or toxic environments they must now contend with programming errors, malfunctions and defects.

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