As the use of robots in many fields ranging from surgery to automotive manufacturing increases in Kentucky and around the country, there will also be more cases of them causing accidents. Robots may be used to chop vegetables in restaurants, by police to check buildings, and by hospitals to distribute medicine. According to one vice-president of a company that manufactures robots for the automotive industry, the most common accidents occur when robotic cells are being programmed or when a person is troubleshooting a robot that is not functioning properly.
One of the issues with robot safety is that when a robot needs to be repaired, it may not be possible to both troubleshoot and power down the robot. Often, it is necessary for the robot to be turned on in order to fix it. Therefore, despite extensive safety testing, it might not be possible to make the use of robots in the workplace entirely risk-free.
This unavoidable risk means that both risk assessment and extensive training are needed in order to reduce the likelihood of serious injury or death. Electricians and mechanics may be particularly vulnerable to injury from robots. It is anticipated that as their use increases, there will be an increase in personal injury and product liability insurance claims.
Most people who are injured in the workplace are eligible for workers’ compensation. Benefits are usually available to workers even if their employers tell them otherwise or if the worker’s own carelessness led to the injury. However, in the case of worker injury caused by a robot, there might also be a possibility of filing a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer if a design defect was to blame.