Robot Incident Results in $270,000 Fine for Parts Manufacturer

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A supervisor for a manufacturer of metal auto parts was made aware of a problem with a robot cell. He instructed a maintenance worker to fix the tooling and overheating electrode in the cell. Thinking the matter could be quickly fixed, the worker entered the robot cell through the light curtain and without locking out power to the robot. While positioned on a railing by the conveyor belt, he felt the robot pressing his back and causing serious and permanent injury. After a trial, the manufacturer was convicted of three violations. The court found that maintenance workers were expected to make a judgment call about how to fix the equipment—if it was a “quick fix,” the practice was to not follow LOTO and if it was a longer job, then lockout/tag out would be done. The court fined the manufacturer $270,000 [Matcor Automotive Inc., Govt. News Release, Aug. 17, 2016].