Robotic co-workers pose new threats of workplace injuries


More and more workers in California have to get used to dealing with robotic co-workers and the threats they pose. New risks need new precautions, and employers must provide the necessary safety training to ensure that employees can recognize hazards and know how to mitigate them. Following two robot-related workplace injuries gave rise to new recommendations regarding employee safety when working around demolition robots and laser-guided forklifts.

One of those incidents involved the accidental bump of the remote control of a demolition robot. It caused the robot to move unexpectedly, and crush the worker between the outrigger boom and a wall. Co-workers managed to free their unconscious colleague. His injuries were severe, and he was unable to return to work for several months.

The second injury happened when the outrigger of a robotic demolition machine crushed a worker’s foot. The victim had 23 years of experience as a construction worker, but that did not prepare him for the hazards of robotic equipment. After working with the demolishing robot for only five days, he placed his foot too close to the machine.

Workers in industries in which they are exposed to robots might be exceptionally vulnerable because related safety standards are evolving and might not yet be included in safety training. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help victims of workplace injuries in California to file benefits claims for compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Those whose injuries cause permanent disabilities might receive additional benefits like vocational rehabilitation to equip them with new skills that will prepare them for different occupations.

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