The opportunities robots present is equally significant for employers and employees alike: Companies can increase their efficiency and create new jobs thanks to advances in development; employees, on the other hand, may be relieved of energy-sapping or repetitive activities. However, the report by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) emphasizes that the cooperation touches on more than just technical concerns. On the basis of their research, the authors recommend (among other suggestions) dealing carefully with humanizing descriptions of robots, as these could lead to inappropriate ideas regarding their social competence. Designs should also be made more “friendly”: In the past, industrial robots were often encased in cages, and therefore associated with danger from the perspective of the human worker. “Cobots”, however, should not have a threatening appearance.
In the meantime, the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) has turned its attention to work safety in relation to cobots. The removal of cages means that employers should monitor collision risk, experts advise.