Through the Alliance, OSHA, RIA, and NIOSH will work together to share technical knowledge, improve awareness about workplace hazards and appropriate safeguards, and identify needed research on the use of traditional industrial and emerging collaborative robot technologies. The Alliance will continue to foster a technical exchange and information sharing among RIA members, OSHA, NIOSH, employers, and workers concerning 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).

The goals of the Alliance include:

Raising Awareness: Outreach and Communication
  • 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 share compliance assistance tools and resources on robotics system safety, including HRC installations and systems, and AMR.
  • 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:
  • 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).
Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt, USDOL-OSHA (left), RIA President Jeffrey Burnstein, RIA (center), and NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, USHHS-NIOSH (right) signing the Alliance on October 5, 2017.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt, USDOL-OSHA (left), RIA President Jeffrey Burnstein, RIA (center), and NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, USHHS-NIOSH (right) signing the Alliance on October 5, 2017.

Alliance signatories with representatives of NIOSH and OSHA at the Alliance signing ceremony on October 5, 2017

Alliance signatories with representatives of NIOSH and OSHA at the Alliance signing ceremony on October 5, 2017