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OSHA alliance updates technical guide for assessing robot systems

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Posted February 3, 2022

OSHA, NIOSH, and the Association for Advancing Automation recently updated and expanded a chapter in the OSHA Technical Manual on Industrial Robot Systems and Industrial Robot System Safety. The manual guides OSHA compliance officers as they perform inspections at facilities with robotic systems and provides a technical resource for safety and health professionals overseeing the use of robotic systems in workplaces.

Significant updates to the manual include:

  • up-to-date technical information on the hazards associated with industrial and emergent robot applications,
  • safety considerations for employers and workers, and
  • risk assessments and risk reduction measures.

The World Robotics 2021 Industrial Robots report estimates that more than 310,000 industrial robots now operate in U.S. factories. The continuing rise of robotics increases the risks associated with robotic systems’ hazards such as struck-by/caught-between, crushing and trapping, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and environmental.

In 2017, OSHA, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Association for Advancing Automation (formerly the Robotic Industries Association) 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.

This article was written by Rachel Krubsack of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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