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More robots in the workplace could mean more accidents

On Behalf of O’Malley Tunstall PLLC | May 11, 2017 | Workers’ Compensation

The use of robots in the workplace is on the rise, but this also means that employees in North Carolina and throughout the country are more vulnerable to injuries caused by them. Restaurant kitchens, food processing plants and hospitals are among the environments where robots may be found. The automotive industry also uses a large number of robots, some of them custom built. One Wisconsin production plan that builds robotic systems also has more than 50 robots on the floor.

Workers receive training about safety around robots, but experts say it is unlikely that the risk of injury could be reduced to zero. The issue is that most accidents occur during troubleshooting. However, in many cases, it is not possible to repair the robot if it is turned off. This leaves the person who is programming or repairing the robot vulnerable to injury. Robot manufacturers do extensive safety testing and training along with risk assessments in an effort to minimize accidents. However, automotive companies may also require a third-party safety evaluation because they are responsible for the safe operation of the robots.

Since the use of robots in the workplace will continue to rise, it is expected that claims will rise as well in response to accidents. In some cases, these claims may require robotics experts to determine who was at fault.

People who are injured on the job by a robot may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. They may want to talk to an attorney about their rights since employers may not always be forthcoming. Furthermore, if another party is at fault, such as the manufacturer, the injured worker may want to file a lawsuit against that party as well.