Robot Safety Guidance Updates for Manufacturers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is increasing efforts around safety and robots as they become more frequently used on manufacturing shop floors.
A 2021 Industrial Robots report estimated more than 310,000 industrial robots now operate in U.S. factories.
In 2017 OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Association for Advancing Automation formed an alliance to share technical knowledge, improve awareness about workplace hazards and appropriate safeguards, and identify needed research on the use of traditional industrial and emerging collaborative robotic technologies.
Since then, OSHA expanded a chapter in the Technical Manual on Industrial Robot Systems and Industrial Robot System Safety.
The continuing rise of robotics increases the risks associated with robotic systems’ hazards such as an employee being struck-by, caught-between, crushed, and/or trapped.
There are also electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and environmental hazards.
In order to protect workers involved in robotic industries, OSHA encourages employers to implement a safeguarding strategy using a hierarchy of controls.
Significant updates have been made to the manual about hazards associated with industrial and emerging robot applications.
The manual also breaks down safety considerations for workers, and risk assessments and risk reduction measures.
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