GERMANY: A man killed by a robot in a Volkswagen factory

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A young temporary worker aged 22 employed at Volkswagen died when the start-up of a robot hurled him violently against a metallic plate. This accident aroused numerous reactions in Europe.

In the very great majority of cases, robots are isolated in safety cages to perform the tasks required of them. In this case, the young temporary worker was fatally injured when he was in the cage with the robot. A legal enquiry has been opened to determine the exact causes of the accident.

On the face of it, there is nothing to suggest malfunctioning of the robot. The enquiry points rather to a human error, according to Volkswagen’s spokesperson. Nevertheless, this accident raises many question marks regarding the consequences of growing corporate robotization for workers. European press reports therefore reflected these concerns, also mentioning the launch of a new generation of robots, in direct contact with man.

To find out more (In german)

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