A tragic accident occurred in South Korea on Tuesday night when a factory worker was brutally killed by an industrial robot. The man, who was in his 40s and worked for a robotics company, was crushed to death by a robot at an agricultural produce distribution center in South Gyeongsang, according to reports.
The victim was reportedly inspecting the robot’s sensor at the time of the incident. The machine, which was tasked with lifting boxes of peppers onto pallets, seems to have malfunctioned and mistaken the man for a box. It reportedly grabbed him with its arm and pushed him against the conveyor belt, crushing his face and chest.
The man was rushed to the hospital but sadly died from his injuries, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. Police are now preparing to investigate the site’s safety managers for potential negligence.
An official from the Donggoseong Export Agricultural Complex, which owns the plant, called for improved safety systems following the tragic accident.
The victim had filled in to conduct tests on the robot, which were originally scheduled for November 6. However, they were postponed for two days due to reported problems with the robot’s sensor that needed to be addressed first.
Tragically, this is not the first accident of its kind in South Korea. Just this past March, a man in his 50s sustained serious injuries after getting trapped by a robot at an auto parts plant.
The tragic death of the factory employee is raising concerns about safety when working in proximity to heavy machinery and robots. South Korean authorities will likely investigate this case thoroughly to determine precisely what went wrong and how similar tragedies can be prevented in the future. Improved security protocols, emergency stops, and sensor technology could help safeguard workers from being put in harm’s way.