Partnership for Robot Safety

Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 03:10 PM gHale


Robot usage keeps continuing to grow, and with it brings questions of safety.

That is why the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) inked an alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to focus on robot safety.

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OSHA is going out of its way to establish alliances with industry groups to share expertise and knowledge about safety practices in the industries involved. The OSHA/NIOSH/RIA Alliance will focus on communication and education about best practices in robot safety.

“RIA has a long history of helping to keep around industrial robotics,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “We developed the first American national robot safety standard, R15.06, in 1986 and we’ve kept it up-to-date since then. This new alliance with OSHA and NIOSH will help us to continue advancing worker safety as more robots enter the workplace.”

The goals of the OSHA/NIOSH/RIA Alliance are enhancing technical expertise about robotics within OSHA and NIOSH; improving awareness of workplace hazards associated with traditional industrial robots and the emerging technology of human robot collaboration (HRC) installations and systems; and identifying research that may be needed to help reduce workplace hazards.

“The robotics industry has a great track record of safety dating back to 1961 when the first industrial robot was installed,” said Carole Franklin, director of standards development at RIA. “We’re trying to make sure every integrator and user of robotics in the country is aware of the best practices described in our R15.06 standard. This new partnership with OSHA and NIOSH will certainly help us in that effort.”

The Alliance will foster technical exchange and information sharing among RIA members, OSHA, NIOSH, employers, and workers concerning hazards that may be present around industrial robot systems.

It will also facilitate the sharing of information about how best to control exposure to such hazards during operations involving human interaction with the robotic systems in workplaces. 

Alliance participants will collaborate to develop technical training, resources, and tools for OSHA staff, NIOSH researchers, employers, and workers.



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