We’re regretful to have to report that a contractor with Volkswagen AG was killed last Monday in an incident occurring during the installation of a factory robot. The victim was 21 years old.
Autoblog reports that the man was within the safety cage surrounding the robot, installing the machine with another worker at a Volkswagen AG plant in Kessel, Germany. Somehow or another, the robotic arm struck the first worker in the chest and pressed him against a metal plate. He was taken to a local hospital immediately, where he died a short time later.
The second worker involved in the installation of this robot was farther away, and did not suffer any injuries. Likely as a matter of routine, the local city prosecutor has opened a case to investigate whether negligence may have been a factor in the Volkswagen AG worker’s death. This will likely come down to the question of whether the deceased man would have had reason to believe that the robot had been disabled prior to entering the safety cage; robots like those used in industrial settings do not necessarily have sensors to alert them to the presence of an obstruction, and as a rule, the cage always necessarily ought to be vacated while the machinery is active.
Of course, any industrial accident is a tragedy, but this is perhaps especially true when the victim is so young. We offer our condolences to the man’s family and friends.