Florida employees in a number of different industries may increasingly find themselves working alongside robots. As the use of robots in the workplace grows, so does the likelihood that humans may be injured as a result of working with them. Robots have actually been in the workplace for longer than many people may realize. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration created its first safety guidelines for working with robotics in 1987.
However, safety experts say the agency needs to update its safety information. In 2017, OSHA, the Robotics Industry Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety made an alliance to improve workplace safety involving robots. NIOSH created a Center for Occupational Robotics Research to investigate how robots can benefit humans in the workplace and work safely alongside them.
Between 1992 and 2015 according to NIOSH, at least 61 people died because of workplace accidents involving robots. Despite a lack of current regulation, OSHA still holds employers responsible for accidents involving robots. This was the case in a 2016 accident in which a technician lost three fingers. In an online technical manual, OSHA has identified several specific hazards people may encounter when working with robots. These include accidents in which the worker is trapped and crushed, mechanical failures, electrical hazards and human error.
When people are injured on the job by a robot or in any other type of work-related accident, they may be eligible for workers' compensation. Access to workers' compensation benefits can be important for workers because they may cover medical expenses and provide a percentage of any wages that are lost during the victim's recovery period. Injured workers might want to talk to an attorney who may be able to assist with filing a claim and with any appeals.