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NIOSH starts center focused on robotics and workplace safety

Robotics technologies have seen considerable advancements over the past few decades. This has increased the scope of possible workplace applications for such technologies. Industrial robots are showing up more and more in the American workplace. Also, the amount of possible human-robot interactions in the workplace is growing.

As the use of robots at U.S. work sites grows and evolves, a lot of new questions are raised. This includes questions regarding what sorts of safety issues there are when it comes to workplace use of robots. How safe new technologies being used in the workplace are can have big impacts for both businesses and workers.

As the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has recently noted, there are currently gaps in what is known regarding robotics and workplace safety. NIOSH recently started a new center aimed at trying to help fill these gaps.

This is the Center for Occupational Robotics Research. The center reportedly will engage in collaboration with a range of parties in an effort to do research on and generate guidance on issues such as:

  • The possible safety hazards connected to workplace robots.
  • What advantages robots could have in the workplace.
  • How to keep robot-human interactions in the workplace safe.

One wonders what sorts of discoveries and insights related to workplace safety and robotics the new center’s efforts will ultimately yield. What is learned about the workplace safety issues surrounding robots as industrial robot use becomes more prevalent could impact many things. This could include what actions companies may want to take when it comes to protecting worker safety, and protecting their finances from potential liabilities, when using industrial robots in their business operations.

Source: Safety+Health, “NIOSH center to focus on ‘safe integration of robots’ in the workplace,” Oct. 23, 2017

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