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Robots have been part of popular culture for decades, from R2-D2 to the Terminator to Optimus Prime. More recently, however, robots have moved from the big screen to our everyday lives, including where we work.
These workplace robots can improve worker safety and well-being by operating in environments that are dangerous or unhealthy for people. There are an increasing number and type of robots in the workplace. Compared with 6 years ago, the global average robot density (robots per 10,000 employees) has more than doubled.
However, the use of robotics in the workplace also presents its own unique worker safety and health challenges. NIOSH created the Center for Occupational Robotics Research to address such challenges. The center aims to help ensure the safety of workers who use, wear, or work near robots. While NIOSH robotics research crosses multiple work sectors, one area of specific focus is construction. In 2019, the construction industry employed about 11.4 million workers. It also has some of the highest numbers of fatalities and injuries of all industries. As a high-risk industry, construction is a natural fit for using robots to minimize risk to workers. Robots laying bricks (masonry robots), demolishing buildings (demolition robots), and doing inspections at elevation (drones) are a few examples where robotic technologies could reduce worker risks. Read More
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Original article published by NIOSH