OSHA and Robotic Safety Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets guidelines and standards that should be practiced to keep employees safe. For robotics, OSHA has set forth standards, directives, and national consensus standards related to robotics.
Robots are generally used to perform unsafe, hazardous, highly repetitive, or unpleasant tasks. Studies indicate that many robot accidents occur during non-routine operating conditions, such as programming, maintenance, testing, setup, or adjustment. If the human worker is introduced into the robot’s working envelope, unintended operations could result in an injury.
The use of robotics can also pose potential mechanical hazards. These dangers could include workers colliding with equipment, being crushed or trapped by equipment, or being injured by falling equipment due to unpredicted movements or program changes, or component malfunctions. If the components associated with the robot or its power source experience a mechanical failure, injury could result.
Of course, humans all make mistakes occasionally. If a human makes an error in programming, interfacing peripheral equipment, or connecting sensors, the robot could engage in un-predicted movement resulting in injury. Humans can also make an error in judgment when activating the teach pendant or control panel. Injury can also result when humans fail to be cognizant of the robot’s actions due to familiarity. To safeguard employees, the most common technique is to install perimeter guarding with interlocked gates.
Another great resource for complying with robotic safety standards is Robotics Industries Association. The RIA helps companies stay current with safety requirements and has a complete list of training and certifications options available.
RobotWorx continues to stay current with safety requirements on our robots and workcells. If you are interested in purchasing safety options for a robot, workcell or previously installed system, contact us here or call us at 740-251-4312.