A3 - Alliance Renewal Agreement - December 12, 2019


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) continue to recognize the value of maintaining a collaborative relationship to foster safety and health practices and programs to improve American workplaces. To that end, OSHA, NIOSH, and RIA hereby renew the Alliance signed October 5, 2017, with a continued emphasis on sharing technical knowledge and improving awareness about workplace hazards and appropriate safeguards for the use of traditional industrial and emerging collaborative robot technologies. Specifically, each organization is committed to providing OSHA and NIOSH staff, RIA members, and the public with information, guidance, and access to training resources that will help them protect the health and safety of workers, and understand the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). Through the Alliance, the organizations will continue to address exposures to mechanical (machine guarding, lockout/tagout), electrical, and other hazards, and other workplace safety and health issues associated with traditional industrial robots, human robot collaboration (HRC) installations and systems, and autonomous mobile robots (AMR).

This agreement provides a framework and objectives for the Alliance’s activities. Alliance participants will summarize specific activities and timeframes for completion in a written work plan.

Through the Alliance, the organizations will use relevant injury, illness, and hazard exposure data, when appropriate, to help identify areas of emphasis for Alliance awareness, outreach and communication activities. The Alliance will also explore and implement selected options to evaluate the effectiveness of the Alliance and measure the impact of its overall effort on improving workplace safety for employers and workers. In developing this Alliance, OSHA, NIOSH, and RIA recognize that OSHA’s State Plan and On-site Consultation Project partners are an integral part of the OSHA national effort, and that information about the products and activities of the Alliance may be shared with these partners for the advancement of common goals.

Raising Awareness: Outreach and Communication

The Participants intend to work together to achieve the following objectives:

  • Share information on OSHA’s National Initiatives (Emphasis Programs, Regulatory Agenda, Outreach), and opportunities to participate in initiatives and the rulemaking process.
  • Share information on occupational safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers.
  • Develop and communicate (e.g., print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools, and OSHA, NIOSH, and RIA websites) information, communications, and compliance assistance tools and resources (e.g., fact sheet(s), website) on robotics system safety, including HRC installations and systems, and AMR, for employers and workers, and ensure that they accurately reflect the latest good practices.
  • Speak, exhibit, or appear at OSHA, RIA, or NIOSH conferences, local meetings, or other regional events (e.g., the International Robot Safety Conference, RoboBusiness, Autonomous Mobile Robot Conference, On-site Consultation Annual Training Conference, National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS))
  • Promote, through seminars and workshops, industry-wide use of good practices for robotics systems, and encourage employers to develop new or enhance existing safety and health programs.
  • Develop and disseminate case studies on robot safety.

Training and Education

The Participants intend to work together to achieve the following training and education objectives:

  • Conduct effective technical seminars, web-based training, or other types of training to educate OSHA, State Plan, and Consultation staff, and NIOSH researchers about traditional industrial robotics operational hazards and abatement methods, and the emerging fields of HRC installations and systems, and AMR.
  • Provide technical information to OSHA and NIOSH that enables both agencies to make informed observations about traditional industrial robotics, HRC installations and systems, and AMR safety in different industries; and support each agency’s efforts to develop and issue internal and public technical resources (e.g., OSHA Technical Manual Chapter and NIOSH guidance documents).
  • Assist in identifying and developing research questions that might be addressed by NIOSH, and opportunities for field-based research among early adopters of newer technologies (e.g., HRC installations and systems, AMR).

OSHA’s Alliances provide parties an opportunity to participate in a voluntary cooperative relationship with OSHA for such purposes as raising awareness of OSHA’s rulemaking and enforcement initiatives, whistleblower protection program, training and education, and outreach and communication. These Alliances have proven to be valuable tools for both OSHA and its Alliance participants. By entering into an Alliance with a party, OSHA is not endorsing or promoting, nor does it intend to endorse or promote, any of that party’s products or services.

An implementation team made up of representatives of each organization will meet to develop a work plan, determine working procedures, and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. In addition, they will meet quarterly to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the Alliance. OSHA team members will include representatives of the Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, the Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, the Directorate of Standards and Guidance, the Directorate of Enforcement Programs, the Directorate of Training and Education, Regional/Area Offices, and any other appropriate offices. OSHA will encourage State Plans’ and OSHA On-Site Consultation programs’ participation on the team.

This agreement will remain in effect for five years. Any signatory may terminate it for any reason at any time, provided they give 30 days’ written notice. This agreement may be modified at any time with the written concurrence of all signatories.

Signed this 12th day of December, 2019.

Loren Sweatt
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health

Jeffrey Burnstein
Robotic Industries Association

John Howard
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health