In South Korea, man is crushed to death by an industrial robot
Man crushed to death by robot in South Korea, after the machine had apparently failed to distinguish it from the boxes of products it was handling, the Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday. The man, a worker in his 40s for a robotics company, was inspecting the robot's sensor operations at an agricultural products distribution center in South Gyeongsang Province.
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Apparently, the industrial robot, which was lifting boxes full of peppers and placing them on a pallet, malfunctioned and identified the man as a box, Yonhap said, citing police.. The robotic arm pushed his upper body against the conveyor belt, crushing his face and chest, according to the news agency. He was taken to the hospital but died later, the report stated.
The Donggoseong Agricultural Export Complex, which uses the paprika sorting plant where the accident occurred, said it has been using this robot for at least five years. The robot has been of great help to farmers in a situation where there is a shortage of labor as the number of farmers has decreased and the machine can stack boxes of selected paprika more than 2 meters high.
An official assured that "we have been using robots well with less manpower, but recently we changed the line of work and entrusted the work to more efficient use." And he added that "robots can be used in cultivation facilities" safely. Farms are also being developed: “It is necessary to establish a precise and safe system,” he said.
In March, a South Korean man in his 50s suffered serious injuries after being trapped by a robot while working at an auto parts manufacturing plant.
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