A machine error with tragic consequences occurred in one of the Asian plants. A sorting robot mistook a human for a box and caused significant bodily harm to the technician. He died in hospital.
A fatal accident involving an industrial robot occurred in South Korea. The machine crushed the man after misidentifying him as merchandise. The device has caused problems at the facility before.
The robot crushed a man – the machine recognized him as a commodity
According to local media, the incident occurred at a vegetable sorting plant in South Gyeongsang province, located approximately 240 km from Seoul. It was there that a machine, whose normal task is to transfer boxes filled with agricultural goods onto pallets, broke down.
On Wednesday evening local time, a technician in his 40s was called to the device for maintenance. It was supposed to have faulty sensors, which made work difficult – according to reports from the Korean Yonhap agency.
While performing diagnostics, the robot unexpectedly pushed a man onto a conveyor belt, crushing his head and chest. The man was freed and immediately taken to hospital. Unfortunately, the employee could not be saved.
After the accident, a representative of Dongseong Export Agricultural Complex, the plant’s owner, called for the introduction of a “precise and safe” system at the facility affected by the tragedy.
Industrial accidents involving robots
As journalists remind us, this is not an isolated case. A similar incident has already occurred this year. Then the machine trapped a 50-year-old factory worker while working his shift at an auto parts production plant. The man survived, but suffered significant injuries.
Although robots can significantly improve work efficiency, their use is associated with certain risks for people working within their reach. The threat may be caused by, among others, inappropriate design of the machine, its incorrect maintenance, or lack of training of the staff who will work with the devices.