OSHA Cites Dangerous Robots

In the Terminator films, machines took over in 1997. In the Matrix films, it was closer to the year 2200. We are now somewhere in between these two scenarios. Robots are becoming ever more sophisticated and reactive. Computing power has seemingly limitless potential, as Moore’s law has demonstrated. In the span of human history, however, we are just getting used to this brave new world.

Things are a far cry from the early days of robotics on machine lines; robotic components are everywhere and they can be hazardous to workers. Recently, OSHA cited a textile manufacture for its dangerous robots [http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/safetysecurity/articles/pages/osha-cites-dangerous-robots.aspx]. The official penalty was for unguarded machinery and LOTO violations, but these included robotic arms that extended beyond a safe perimeter. We are still a far cry from the day the machines take over, but we need to learn how to coexist peacefully.