Safety in the workplace is paramount for productivity. Work places without the required levels of safety lead to low production, high accident rates, high insurance costs, and high rates of medical costs. The results of lack of safety in a workplace have negative consequences to the financial position of the company.
It is therefore important that both employers and workers ensure that their workplaces are completely safe.
One of the factors that enhance safety in the workplace is the use of collaborative robots. Their presence in the workplace has made sure that safety is taken seriously and that they are integral in the promotion of safety in the workplace.
Collaborative robots provide safety in several ways.
As their name suggests cobots are supposed to work hand in hand with human workers. Considering how dangerous and how frequently we hear of fatal robot accidents in factories, how is this possible?
Cobots are designed to ensure safety while working with or alongside human workers. First robots are quite compact and small. As a result, they are not likely to cause any serious injuries when bumped into. Second, they have in built security sensors. The main purpose of the sensors is to ensure that accidents do not occur on the factory floor. With the ability to work independently, cobots are able to sense the presence of humans in their workspace. This is courtesy of the sensors. When cobots sense that a human being is too close to them, they can slow their speed or stop until the human worker is out of harm’s way.
Third they are sleek, smooth and with round edges. They do not have any pointed edges. This ensures that they do not cause harm in case anyone bumps into them.
They take up the dangerous and unsafe tasks
Robots are meant to take up tasks that are dreary, dirty, dangerous and impossible. Often, task that fall in these category are unsafe. For example, lifting heavy objects or handling hazardous material are dangerous and unsafe tasks that could cause a health problem to the worker or a fatal accident.
Cobots then can be used as tools to enhance safety in the workplace. Safety experts recommend that factory workers use mechanical objects to help them lift heavy objects. The military is using robots to sniff out bombs therefore reducing the risk on human officers. Numerous robots have been sent out to space and have never returned, reducing the risk on human astronomers.
Improve mental and physical health of workers
Long hours of strenuous physical labor causes both physical and mental stress. The introduction of cobots into numerous factories has a seen a significant reduction on both.
When human employees work long hours at boring and repetitive tasks in the factory, they can get physical and mental burnout. When this happens, accidents are likely to occur in the workplace. In addition, physical and mental stress may lead to conflicts at the workplace, absenteeism and large turnover due to exhaustion and lack of mental stimulation.
Once a cobot is introduced into the factory, these tasks that cause unease to employees are assigned to them. In turn, the human employees are then assigned tasks that require creativity, problem solving and independent thinking. This leads to an improvement in the mental health of the workers.
Incorporating cobots into the factory provides workers with time to rest and exercise thus also enhancing their physical health.
Eliminate errors that could lead to accidents
Collaborative robots help eliminate errors in the workplace that could lead to accidents. For example, cobots used in the surgery room help surgeons reach deeper into the human body with high levels of precision and accuracy. This eliminates chances of error on the surgeon’s side which could to life threatening consequences on the patient.
In pharmaceuticals, the cobot is used for accurate measures of chemical doses in the manufacturing of drugs and other chemicals.