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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

What are the Safety Implications of Robots Working Side-by-Side with Humans?

by Jared Staver in Workers' Compensation

For decades, industrial robots have been seen in workplaces across the United States. These days, however, there are collaborative robots, which work side by side with workers in a variety of industries. According to the Robotic Industries Association, there were more than 250,000 collaborative robots installed in the country in 2017.

While collaborative robots can improve workplaces, they can also cause some safety challenges that are further discussed below. If you sustain a job-related injury as a result of a collaborative robot or another new technology, reach out to our highly skilled Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers. Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C at (312) 236-2900 today to schedule a free, initial consultation.

What is a Collaborative Robot?

To be considered collaborative, a robot’s design must allow it to interact with humans. The International Organization for Standardization necessitates collaborative robots to employ at least one of the following safety measures:

  • Safety-rated monitored stop: When a worker has the desire to enter the robot’s workplace, it needs to stop working.
  • Hand-guiding: The robot can only move when a worker allows it to move.
  • Speed and separation monitoring: The robot needs to reduce its speed as a worker approaches it and completely stop when a worker is about to touch it.
  • Power and force limiting: Robots are limited in the payload they can carry as well as the force they can exert in the event they hit a worker accidentally.

Risks of Collaborative Robots

While collaborative robots may benefit workplaces around Chicago, they do pose several risks. Regardless of how soft or rounded a robot’s arm is, if its work piece or end effector is sharp, a worker may sustain an injury. There are also additional risks related to the environment a collaborative robot is placed in as well as the particular tasks it performs.

Since collaborative robot systems are unique, it’s vital for employers to conduct thorough risk assessments to ensure safe implementation. Risk assessments should be performed before, during, and after installation.

Filing an Illinois Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you work in an environment with a collaborative robot and sustain an injury, you may have the right to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to pay for any medical bills or lost wages you have faced as a result of the robot.

Since collaborative robots are such a new concept and difficult to understand, it’s vital to consult a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer to assist you in filing a claim. They can help you prove your injury was the result of the robot in your Chicago workplace and help increase your chances of collecting the maximum compensation you may be entitled to.

Call Us After Sustaining an Injury Due to Another Party

If you believe you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim related to a robot that works side by side with you, it is in your best interest to consult a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C as soon as possible. Call us at (312) 236-2900 today for a free case assessment.