How to Prevent Industrial Robot Accidents

Sparks flying from an industrial robot

Since the 1980s, robots have continued to have a more significant role within the workplace. Now, industrial robots are an integral part of the workforce since they can improve productivity, efficiency, consistency and safety. Though industrial robots enhance workplace safety by minimizing the chance of worker accidents, improperly installed or used industrial robots can cause more harm than good. Thankfully, by taking proper occupational safety precautions, your company can reduce the likelihood of industrial robot accidents.

Causes of Accidents Involving Industrial Robots

Industrial robot accidents occur when proper mechanical precautions aren’t taken or workers ignore safety codes. Some common causes of these incidents include:

  • Malfunctioning programming that causes collisions with workers and machinery.
  • Workers entering the machinery’s work envelope and becoming pinned.
  • Workers tripping over safety switches while servicing the machinery and being struck by it.

Types of Robot Accidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has designated four main types of industrial robot accidents:

  • Impact and collision incidents: Accidents caused by component malfunctions or unexpected movement.
  • Crushing and trapping incidents: Accidents that occur when a worker’s body or limbs are caught between mechanical components.
  • Mechanical part accidents: Accidents resulting from the breakdown of mechanical equipment that results in machinery failure.
  • Interference-caused accidents: Accidents caused by arc flash, dust, electromagnetic interference, radio interference, leaking high-pressure lines or metal splatter.

How to Prevent Industrial Robot Accidents

With a well-designed safeguarding system, your business can prevent avoidable industrial robot accidents.

Electronic Fences

When possible, the working areas of humans and robots should be separated by fences. Once a worker opens the gate, the robot’s electrical circuit is cut off, preventing the possibility of human injury. Robotic production resumes once the worker has left the enclosure and confirms their location on a safety monitor.

Safety Controllers

A safety controller continuously monitors the robot’s location on its axis, position and velocity. Software electronically controls these industrial robots, and when one strays too far from its setup parameters, it is automatically switched off to ensure worker safety. This measure restricts a robot’s traveling velocity to a preset value, so it never becomes deadly in the presence of a worker.

Camera Integration

With cameras integrated into the workplace, programs can continuously monitor a workers’ location to ensure they are within a safe distance of the industrial robots. When the worker and robot become too close to each other, the safety precautions turn on and limit the robot’s motion. This feature allows human workers to handle complicated tasks that require precision while the robot moves heavy equipment and performs dangerous operations.

Let Global Electronic Services Improve Your Workplace Safety

Global Electronic Services carries every imaginable part your business needs to increase workplace safety. Every part sold by Global comes with an 18-month warranty, and our highly trained expert technicians are ready to assist you with repairs 24/7.

We offer load testing, in-house repair services and free evaluations for all of your company’s electronics and manufacturing needs. To learn more, request a free quote or call us with questions at 877-249-1701.

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