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You’re likely already taking steps to keep workers safe in your facility, so why ask for further paperwork involving all of the potential issues? Risk assessments assure no scenario is left behind and provides a way to organize the inherent risks of operating with robotics. This might seem like a daunting task, but the benefits are well documented and educated robotic safety integrators like VMRA are here to help.
If you're ordering your first robot and thinking about whether you're getting a risk assessment, remember that you should be. It's required.
So what is a robot cell risk assessment and how does the Robotic Industries Association outline their use? Let's start with the definition...
The process by which the intended use (and reasonably foreseeable misuse) of the machine, the tasks and hazards, and the level of risk are determined.
Before asking someone to begin, it is worth noting that cooperation between the end-user and the integrator is always key. Whether the assessment is being done upon delivery of a new robot, or legacy equipment is being assessed, it is important to communicate the unique needs and behavior of humans and machines to assure a complete picture is made.
The RIA recommends a task-based risk assessment methodology via the RIA TR R15.306 and provides a process flow for solidifying a full risk assessment. Each of these steps are a topic in their own and perhaps could be covered in a future post, but the below flow chart is a great starting point.
OK. You’ve received a robot’s risk assessment. What now?
The RIA requires that you keep your assessment on hand but before filing it away it’s worth analyzing the work that went into it. What risks are being dealt with? Can the process or design be improved in the next system? Finally, it is important to keep the assessments up to date to assure that the paper matches the process. It’s recommended to review upon any programming changes, alterations, movement, or incidents occur. Proper maintenance will save time and money as the assessment is used.