An alliance of OSHA and industry groups has revised the official federal safety manual used for managing industrial robot systems.
OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and Association for Advancing Automation (called A3, formerly the Robotic Industries Association) formed the alliance in 2017 to share technical knowledge and identify needed research.
The alliance recently updated and expanded the OSHA Technical Manual on Industrial Robot Systems and Industrial Robot System Safety.
Changes 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 manual guides OSHA compliance officers as they perform inspections at facilities with robotic systems, and it serves as a technical resource for safety and health professionals overseeing the use of robotic systems in workplaces.
OSHA Chief Douglas Parker said, “Robot use will continue to expand, and employers have a responsibility to assess the hazards these new applications may introduce and implement appropriate safety controls to protect the workers who operate and service them.”
It’s currently estimated that more than 310,000 industrial robots are now operating in U.S. factories, warehouses and other facilities.
“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 environments,” the alliance noted.