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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14197602 - Right Leg Caught In Welding Line (Robot) Apparatus

Accident: 14197602 -- Report ID: 0352420 -- Event Date: 11/12/1984
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1481825611/15/19843429Marada Industries Inc
A machine operator was working at an operating station for a Hitachi robotic welding machine. She had been trained and had been working on the machine for about 2 months. The machine welded 3.05-meter lengths of steel used to construct the underbody frame of General Motors vans. The machine could be run manually or in automatic, computer-run mode. The metal rails moved along the machine until they reached a lifting arm, which was the full width of the line. Two protruding rods, each approximately 13 centimeters long, fit into small openings in each end of the lifting arm when it was at the home position. When the rails to be welded were resting on the lifting arm, the pressure would be transferred through the protruding rods, which would signal the computer to begin the welding operation. At that point, the lifting arm would rise, and a robotic arm would move out from the operator's side of the machine to weld the frame pieces. After a few seconds' delay, the robotic arm would return to its home position, and the lifting arm would lower to its home position, ready for the next piece. During the course of this operation, the welding line would be shut down intermittently so that employees could lubricate the welding tips on the robot arms to prevent material build up. The operator, without telling anyone else or shutting down the machine, tried to perform the lubrication with the machine still in automatic mode. She thought she could finish lubricating the welding tips during the small delay. The employee did not complete the task in time, as she had anticipated. Her right leg was located between the protruding rods on the lifting arm and the openings the rods rest in, and the rods trapped her leg. When other employees were alerted, they had trouble trying to switch the line to manual because the computer was trying to complete it's function and because the lifting arm was trying to return to its home position. One employee used a crowbar to help relieve pressure on the injured employee's leg, and another operated the solenoid enabling the lifting arm to rise. The machine operator received two puncture wounds in the thigh (requiring stitches) and abrasions to the lower leg. She was hospitalized for her injuries.
Keywords: maintenance, robot, welding, lockout, nip point, unguarded, leg, machine--misc, puncture
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 14818256 Hospitalized injury Puncture Sheet metal workers

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