NIOSH Presents: An Occupational Safety and Health Perspective on Robotics Applications in the Workplace

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On October 12, 2017, 3 researchers from nan National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) gave a sheet position astatine nan National Robot Safety Conference connected robotics applications successful nan workplace and worker safety. The convention was hosted successful Pittsburgh, PA by nan Robotic Industries Association (RIA). Among nan attendees were robotics engineers and robot strategy integrators, manufacture information professionals, and different robot and automation manufacturers and professionals. The convention addressed cardinal issues successful business robot information and provided an in-depth overview of business robot information standards (e.g., ANSI/RIA R15.06 business robot information standards). Presenters provided applicable method reports, examples of business robot applications, and champion practices connected really to successfully incorporated information into caller and existing robotics projects successful various workplaces. The convention provided an opportunity for NIOSH to coming its investigation connected moving pinch robots and to perceive from others moving successful this area. Summaries of nan NIOSH presentations follow.

Robotics Applications successful nan Workplace: An Occupational Safety and Health Perspective

Hongwei Hsiao, Ph.D.

Industrial robots person been a important portion of nan workplace for decades. Emerging business robotics technologies will bring some imaginable enhancements and concerns for worker information and health. Robots tin amended value of life for workers by taking complete tedious, dangerous, and soiled jobs that are fatiguing aliases little safe for humans to perform. However, concerns for worker information and wellness besides originate from nan accelerated technological advances and deficiency of acquisition moving intimately pinch caller and emerging types of business robots, specified arsenic collaborative robots and mobile robots, successful varied activity settings. In particular, description of nan robots designed to activity successful adjacent practice pinch quality workers whitethorn present caller risks aliases exacerbate existing risks for immoderate workplaces.

NIOSH precocious established nan Center for Occupational Robotics Research (CORR) to supply technological activity to guideline nan improvement and usage of occupational robots that heighten worker safety, wellness and well-being. CORR will activity successful business pinch world researchers, waste and acquisition associations, robotics manufacturers, employers utilizing robotics technology, labour organizations, and different national agencies to:

  • monitor trends successful injuries associated pinch robotics technologies;
  • evaluate robotics technologies arsenic sources of, and interventions for, workplace injuries and illnesses;
  • establish consequence profiles of robotic workplaces;
  • identify investigation needs and behaviour studies to amended nan safety, health, and well-being of humans moving pinch robots and robotic technologies;
  • support nan improvement and take of statement information standards; and
  • develop and pass champion practices, guidance and training for safe interactions betwixt quality workers and robots/robotics technology.

Application and Safety Concerns of Robotics Technology successful nan Mining Industry

John Sammarco, Ph.D.

NIOSH is willing successful robot applications successful nan mining manufacture because nan usage of robots has nan imaginable to greatly heighten excavation workers’ information and health. The mining manufacture has specialized operations and uniquely challenging activity environments. Automated mining and robot technologies supply nan imaginable to region and isolate excavation workers from hazardous activity environments wherever health-related risk-exposures and machine-related injuries proceed to occur. NIOSH researchers person been proactively addressing worker wellness and information issues associated pinch robotic technologies by identifying early investigation efforts successful these areas including sensors, automation, information analytics, strategy safety, quality factors, and situational awareness. For instance, NIOSH continues to investigation proximity discovery technologies for avoiding collisions betwixt workers and mobile machinery. The investigation will thief create guidelines that nan manufacture and regulatory agencies could usage successful nan creation and implementation of proximity discovery exertion for mobile robots successful underground ember mines. Robotics exertion besides has an tremendous imaginable for underground excavation rescue efforts (see Figure 1). NIOSH initiated investigation to create a robotic excavation rescue support instrumentality to amended nan expertise of a excavation rescue squad to respond to catastrophic events.

Figure 1. Mining Robot: A “snake” robotic is lowered down a borehole and relays captious accusation backmost to nan aboveground to adjutant rescue efforts.

Robotics and Automation successful nan Construction Industry

Scott Earnest, Ph.D., PE, CSP

Figure 2. Robotic claw for bricklaying

The astir 10 cardinal building workers successful nan United States person elevated risks of fatal and non-fatal injuries arsenic compared to workers successful galore different industries. Technological advances specified arsenic robotics and automation are opening to migrate from factories and manufacturing accommodation to building and building sites to execute analyzable tasks. These and different approaches (such arsenic prefabrication and additive manufacturing) person nan imaginable to amended quality, productivity, timeliness, and information successful nan building industry. These precocious technologies are well-suited for building wherever important worldly handling and challenging moving conditions are common. Robots tin return connected nan handling of dense loads; performing dirty, dangerous, aliases repetitive work; and moving astatine elevation, successful difficult to scope places, and connected tasks requiring difficult activity postures. Robots are peculiarly good suited for activity connected civilian infrastructure and location building activities specified arsenic bricklaying (see Figure 2). Alternatively, unanticipated hazards and consequences associated pinch nan usage of robots whitethorn beryllium peculiarly important because of nan characteristics of accepted building projects: ever-changing activity environments, nan request for aggregate skilled craftsmen moving connected a project, aggregate employers sharing a communal worksite, and nan interactions among galore pieces of automated equipment. Further investigation and improvement is warranted for protocols, guidance, and champion practices for nan galore robotics systems that are starting to go commercially disposable for building applications.

Summary and Questions for Readers

The National Robot Safety Conference provided a terrific opportunity for NIOSH to coming its position and talk its interests successful occupational robotics information pinch those who are processing and utilizing robots successful nan workplace. NIOSH is very willing successful proceeding from stakeholders arsenic it expands activity successful this area done nan caller Center for Occupational Robotics Research. We inquire readers to stock their thoughts and perspectives, including providing input connected nan pursuing questions:

  • Has your workplace introduced robotics technologies into your activity processes, and what steps were taken to guarantee worker information and health?
  • What challenges person you encountered successful integrating robots into your existing workforce?
  • What types of investigation do you deliberation should beryllium prioritized to beforehand nan information of humans moving pinch robots?

Hongwei Hsiao, PhD, is nan Branch Chief for nan Protective Technology Branch successful NIOSH’s Division of Safety Research.

HeeSun Choi, PhD, is an Associate Service Fellow pinch nan Protective Technology Branch, Division of Safety Research.

John Sammarco, PhD, is simply a Principal Research Engineer for nan NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research

Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP, is the Deputy Director for nan NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health, Coordinator for nan Construction Sector.

Dawn Castillo, MPH, is nan Director of nan NIOSH Division of Safety Research.

Gene Hill is nan Program Operations Assistant for nan Protective Technology Branch successful NIOSH’s Division of Safety Research.

See related blogs:

A Robot May Not Injure a Worker: Working safely pinch robots

Exoskeletons successful Construction: Will they trim aliases create hazards?

Can Drones Make Construction Safer?

Posted connected December 5, 2017 by Hongwei Hsiao, PhD; HeeSun Choi, PhD, John Sammarco, PhD; Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Dawn Castillo, MPH; and Gene Hill

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Mining News 2