How to avoid the hazards of industrial robotics?


To ease concerns, a risk assessment should be performed during the development of the robotic work cell. At each stage, individual safety requirements will be identified and the appropriate measures are determined to reduce potential hazards. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the US Department of Labor) identifies 7 of these:

 1.      Human errors that can occur in day-to-day activities. This is no different for a robotic work cell: whether it is programming or preventative maintenance, operators might place themselves in a hazardous position due to over-familiarity or lack of knowledge of the robot’s motion path.

 2.      Control errors that originate from control software or hardware issues can lead to hazards within a robotic work cell. A faulty control system, coupled with human interaction, may lead to a dangerous working environment.

 3.      Unauthorized access by an untrained operator into a safeguarded robotic cell can potentially be dangerous and even fatal if they are unfamiliar with the safety hardware.

 4.      Mechanical failures can occur, yet during the design and programming stages, this is not always taken into account. Any unexpected failure can lead to a hazardous situation.

 5.      Environmental sources, such as outside factors that interfere with communication can impact the function of a robotic work cell in an undesirable way. Some examples are power surges or power loss, which can both lead to injury when unplanned. 

 6.      Power systems that are disrupted can produce a release of energy, creating a dangerous environment for the operator.

 7.      Improper installation might compromise the project’s and the operator’s safety. If the robotic cell is incorrectly set up, hazards might occur due to the deviation from the original design.

 Although each of these potential hazards can be dangerous, they are each preventable as long as workers are well educated on the robotic system and the robotic integrator has fulfilled all job requirements, including proper installation, programming, and risk assessment. 

 CerTrust is well-versed in the necessary tests regarding the safety of industrial robots and robotic systems, including those relating to their sales, their implementation, and operation. The Low Voltage Directive (2014/35/EU) applies to electrical equipment in the range of 50-1000V AC and the range of 75-1500V for direct current use. This includes the following measures to ensure the security of persons, pets, and property:

     Protection against hazards from the equipment, taking into account electrical and non-electrical hazards such as physical injuries, temperatures, radiation from direct and indirect contact.

     Protection against hazards caused by external influences on equipment, such as mechanical effects, environmental conditions, and foreseeable overloads.

 Do you require any help regarding the safety of your equipment? Are you looking to minimize hazards? Are you unsure whether your robotic work cell is operating safely? Do not hesitate to contact us!