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TWI health and safety team deliver robotic safety guidance

Thu, 04 April, 2019

TWI Health and Safety Advisor, Carne Willsher, who is also a qualified robot programmer in a multitude of manufacturing programming languages, delivered a talk on robotic safety to the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations (AIRTO).

The talk explained how the guidance, if followed, should allow for compliance with the law according to the Health and Safety Executive.

Covering matters such as installation, commissioning, testing and programming, as well as during use and maintenance, the safety advice also covered principles relating to safeguarding robot systems, safety at the design stage, hazard identification, risk assessment, training and interfacing with the robot controller.

The safeguarding methods discussed included perimeter fencing; interlocking devices; electro-sensitive safety systems; safety light curtains and light beam devices; pressure-sensitive mats; two-hand controls; trip devices; positive stops; brakes; emergency stop actuators; and enabling devices.

Alongside these safeguarding methods, the talk also spoke on controls for changing operating mode from normal operation to teach/setting, reduced-speed controls for teaching/setting/troubleshooting, and the indication of the robot's swept area.

While robotic safety brings an assortment of technical safeguards, there are also human factors to consider, such as safety, pressure, awareness, competency, and having the correct level of training to ensure quality and safety which are at the forefront in any organisation.

The international standards are set out in EN ISO 10218, which details safety requirements for industrial robots and additional information on robot systems and integration. Those robots used for lifting also need to comply with Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

AIRTO assist their members to network and engage directly, while also encouraging enterprise, forging links, and progressing dialogue with key decision makers in government and industry.

Sharing best practice between members AIRTO’s mission is to facilitate, and stimulate, connections and knowledge transfer between their members and with other communities, thereby supporting best practice for business improvement and growth.

The specialist skills and professional work of these companies is important in helping to raise the productivity of UK companies, as well as connecting businesses, government, and academia to the resources needed to catalyse the successful uptake of new technology.

You can find out more about AIRTO here.

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