The field of robotics has been in a state of rapid advancement for some time now. While it is true that robotic systems have been around for many decades, the latest advancements have done a lot to expand their capabilities.
This has led to an increase in the number of robots in the workplace. For many, this causes them to worry about robots taking jobs from humans. On the other hand, many people fail to recognize the ways robotics can be used to make work better for humans.
Along with increasing productivity and precision, robots can play a role in creating safer workplaces. With the right robotic systems, we can prevent workplace injuries and reduce the costs that come with these incidents.
Doing the Heavy Lifting
Many jobs require humans to lift and transport heavy items. Lifting and carrying these items can put incredible stress on the body. This can lead to injuries at the moment, and it can also result in injuries after years of wear and tear on the body.
Even when lifting is assisted by machines, it does not eliminate the risk of injury. The machines could malfunction and drop the item. The item could then fall on or collide with the worker. This type of event could break bones or lead to lifelong injuries.
Protect Against Inattention
Many jobs require a worker to perform a repetitive task for hours at a time. One risk to this type of work is repetitive strain injury, but there is also the risk of complacency. When workers do these tasks long enough, they can get a little too comfortable with what they are doing. It can then become easy for them to make mistakes as a result of inattention.
This is another risk robots can help mitigate. With a robotic system doing the work, the human operator won’t need to do the work with his or her hands. This type of robotic system could prevent the injuries that come from a lack of attention and reduce repetitive stress injuries.
You could find several industries that may operate at sea. In many cases, these industries might need workers to go underwater for a variety of tasks. They might need to do repairs, maintenance work, inspections or install parts. As necessary as this work may be, working underwater can be hazardous.
With underwater robotics, much of this risk can be prevented. There are already many underwater robots that do a range of jobs. They can perform routine maintenance on offshore oil rigs, repair ships, assist with cleanup operations and more.
Handling Harmful Substances
Some jobs might call for humans to work with harmful substances. While there are safety rules and various types of protective equipment, you can’t eliminate the risk as long as humans have to work closely with these substances. Humans can make mistakes or be forgetful. Equipment can fail.
With robots taking on jobs that require the handling of hazardous substances, we can take humans out of harm’s way. Robots can do things like handle corrosive substances or work with radioactive materials. They could handle materials that are heated to high temperatures as well.
Preventing Health Exposure
Many industries also require people to work with substances or materials that could be harmful to their health. Once again, there are practices and rules that are used to reduce risk, but it cannot be eliminated as long as humans have to work with the materials directly.
For example, robots could be a valuable technology for agriculture. Along with taking on a range of dangerous jobs, robots could perform work like applying herbicides and pesticides. These chemicals can often be harmful when humans suffer exposure. By allowing robots to handle the work, you could prevent illnesses that may come from exposure to these chemicals.
Operating Dangerous Machines
You will find many industries that require the use of machines that could be dangerous to humans. Some pieces of machinery apply forces that could snap bones in an instant. Some machines could crush humans in an accident or do serious damage to various organs. In some cases, heavy machinery can kill humans in the workplace.
This is another way robots can work to prevent workplace injuries. Instead of having humans operate the machines directly, you could have robots doing the work. Even if you still need a human operator, this can put enough distance between the human worker and the machine to prevent most injuries.
While robots can prevent injuries in the workplace, some will have the potential to injure their human coworkers. As robots are deployed to various work environments, it will be important to teach human workers about the potential dangers and the ways to prevent them. Along with that, robotic companies will need to develop safety systems for the robots.