Collaborative Robot Risk Assessments

As an employer you are required by law to protect your employees from harm.

 

Cobot safety is often overlooked as they are often sold as "safe out of the box," but that isn't the case.


If you are unsure as to whether your cobot application is safe, get in touch with our experienced team, and put your mind at ease! 

KUKA pressure testing.jpg
Are cobots safe? Are collaborative robots safe?

Are cobots safe?

Although there is lots of safety information available regarding collaborative robots, it is often overlooked due to the way cobots have been marketed.

Often sold as 'safe out of the box', this is true, until the tooling or gripper is attached to the end. This then changes the whole safety of the cobot and the safety of the application then needs to be risk assessed.

Installing a cobot safely requires a detailed risk assessment. Consideration should be given to the risks that may occur during the cobots cycle, its tooling, its movements and the human interaction. The amount of force and pressure that can be exerted in a collision could result in injury. Different parts of the body can receive different forces and pressures and it is the scope of the risk assessment to define these points.

 

As cobots are lightweight and portable they have a variety of uses within the same work environment. For each separate task and location, a risk assessment should be completed. 

Safety Tailored To Your Needs

We provide our clients with safety consultants who are knowledgeable and experienced in collaborative robot risk assessments and work closely with you to understand your companies requirements and offer guidance and support on how to meet them.

 

Our collaborative robot risk assessment service includes:

  • Risk assessments of your collaborative robot application in accordance with the applicable standards, EN ISO 10218-2 and TS ISO 15066​​​ identifying hazards and possible collision points. Using this information allows us to determine whether force and pressure testing is required.

  • Force and pressure testing of collision point if required

 

  • Hazards  are given a score based on the level or risk associated with them and recommendations are given on how to reduce the risk to a safe and sufficient level.

 

  • Guidance on how to become PUWER compliant.

 

  • Our findings are presented in a detailed and comprehensive report.

 

  • Whenever you have questions, queries, or concerns, you have access to ongoing advice and support. 

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Cobot risk assessments

When it comes to cobot risk assessments, the risk assessment process should follow the guidance found in the international safety standards and collaborative robot safety standards.

The findings of the risk assessment will determine the corrective measures that can be applied. The risk assessment should be reviewed several times during the design and build of the cobot application.

There is a legal requirement for anyone who integrates a cobot (whether it be a system integrator or an end user) to conduct a risk assessment as part of the design, the build or the integration of a cobot into a machine. This includes both new and existing machinery. 

 

The risk assessment is one of the key documents used to assist with the overall UKCA / CE marking process. There is also a requirement for the end user to meet the requirements of PUWER to ensure that the cobot application is safe and compliant.

Collaborative robot / cobot risk assessments
Why are cobot risk assessments important? trap points with a cobot

Why are risk assessments important?

As an employer you are required by law to protect your employees from harm. 

Cobots are designed to work alongside humans, so we need to be aware of its movements, the end tooling and what the process involves.

When conducting the risk assessment we:

  • Identify the hazards that could cause injury 

  • Decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed

 

  • Offer solutions to control or reduce the identified risk​​

When should a risk assessment be carried out?

Simply, the earlier the better!

 

Cobots can often end up in guarded cells due to the lack of understanding of the collaborative applications. These issues should have been highlighted in the design risk assessment stage.

Risk assessments are required when:

  • Purchasing new equipment or machinery with a cobot as part of the process

  • Modifying existing machinery to allow for a cobot to be integrated.

  • The cobot is relocated to a new location. 

  • The cobot is given a new task or operation.

when to do a cobot risk assessment?

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

Oliver Selby
Robotics Business Development Manager

“Cobots and Machinery Safety have been adopted within our business as the go to source for information around safety compliance within the relatively new field of collaborative robots. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Matt to ensure that we, as a company, remain up to date with the best practice techniques for cobot use within real world applications;  and more importantly the latest safety legislation relating to the new technology.

 

In detail, we have worked with Cobots and Machinery Safety to ensure our technical and sales employees are fully educated and can speak to clients confidently and with accuracy. So far, the engagement has led to further development within our own product range and the systems we employ to provide safe reliable systems to the market. We have on countless occasions recommended Cobots and Machinery Safety to our customer base, and will continue to do so.”