Incident 69: Worker killed by robot in welding accident at car parts factory in India

Description: A factory robot at the SKH Metals Factory in Manesar, India pierced and killed 24-year-old worker Ramji Lal when Lal reached behind the machine to dislodge a piece of metal stuck in the machine.
Alleged: Unknown developed an AI system deployed by SKH Metals, which harmed Ramji Lal.

Suggested citation format

Anonymous. (2015-07-02) Incident Number 69. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
69
Report Count
12
Incident Date
2015-07-02
Editors
Sean McGregor

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Taxonomy Details

Full Description

A factory robot at the SKH Metals Factory in Manesar, India pierced and killed 24-year-old worker Ramji Lal when Lal reached behind the machine to dislodge a piece of metal stuck in the machine. The robot is pre-programmed to weld together sheets of metal, and had dropped a piece of metal. When Lal reached to dislodge the piece of metal, he was pierced by a welding arm and electrocuted, dying as a result. The cause of death was not confirmed in articles provided.

Short Description

A factory robot at the SKH Metals Factory in Manesar, India pierced and killed 24-year-old worker Ramji Lal when Lal reached behind the machine to dislodge a piece of metal stuck in the machine.

Severity

Severe

Harm Type

Harm to physical health/safety

Location

Manesar, India

Named Entities

SKH Metals Factory, Ramji Lal

Technology Purveyor

SKH Metals Factory

Beginning Date

2015-08-13T07:00:00.000Z

Ending Date

2015-08-13T07:00:00.000Z

Near Miss

Harm caused

Intent

Accident

Lives Lost

Yes

Incidents Reports

A man has been killed by a robot at a car parts factory in India.

The 24-year-old worker was reportedly adjusting a metal sheet being welded by the machine when he was stabbed by one of its arms.

Ramji Lal, from Uttar Pradesh, had been working at a SKH Metals factory in Manesar for around 18 months when the accident happened on Wednesday, the Times of India reported.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

“The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts,” one of his colleagues told the newspaper.

“One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal's abdomen.”

Some local media reports claimed Mr Lal was electrocuted during the accident and died at the scene, although his cause of death has not been confirmed.

Police are viewing CCTV footage of the factory and interviewing dozens of workers who were there at the time as the investigation continues.

Assistant Commissioner Rajesh Kuwar told the Indo-Asian News Service: “The company management and the contractor have been booked on charges of causing death due to negligence.”

The Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union has demanded a full enquiry into Mr Lal’s death and increased safety measures governing work with robots.

SKH Metals could not be reached for a comment.

It came after an employee at a Volkswagen factory in Germany was killed in another accident involving a robot.

The 22-year-old was working at a plant in Baunatal on 29 June when he was reportedly grabbed by the machine and crushed against a metal plate.

Worker killed by robot in welding accident at car parts factory in India

A 24 year old worker employed with SKH Metals, an auto ancillary company at IMT Manesar was killed by a robot on Wednesday, a leading daily reports.

Ramji Lal, a resident of Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh had been working as a loader in the company for one and half years. During the shift, there were apparently 63 workers and 39 robots working. A co-worker of Lal said "The robot is pre-programmed to weld the metal sheets lifted by it. During production, a metal sheet got dislocated and Ramji Lal reached from behind the robot to adjust it. However, the pre-programmed robot pierced Lal's abdomen with welding sticks." Another co-worker told the daily that the victim had gone too close to the robot and got pierced by the robotic arm leading to him dying on the spot. "We are looking at CCTV footage and gathering information from workers and the company," a police official told the daily.

The worker union though is blaming the management for this unfortunate accident. Kuldeep Jhangu, general secretary of Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union alleged that no initiative has been taken to make the robots accident proof. He demanded compensation for Lal's family and a thorough probe into the entire incident.

Police have already booked the company management and contractor with charges of causing death due to negligence.

Worker killed by robot at an auto factory in Haryana

This one's straight out of a Terminator film. Sharp welding sticks jutting out of the robotic arm of a machine pierced a worker killing him at a factory here on Wednesday. The worker had apparently moved too close to the robot while adjusting a metal sheet that had come unstuck.

The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital but he was dead by the time he was wheeled in.

Ramji Lal (24), from Unnao, UP, worked as a loader for SKH Metals, an auto ancillary company, at the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar. He joined a year-and-a-half ago. Lal was at work in the welding unit that has special-purpose machines and robotic welding lines. Around 63 workers and 39 robots were on duty when the accident took place.

"The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts. One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal's abdomen," a co-worker said. Another shop floor colleague claimed that had Lal approached the robot from the front and hadn't stooped to adjust the sheet, the accident wouldn't have happened.

Kuldeep Janghu, general secretary of Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union, told TOI: "The accident occurred due to the negligence of the management. No effort has been made to make the robots accident proof. We want compensation and an inquiry into the incident." The union demanded safety measures put in place for all units using robots, he added. Preliminary investigation shows the victim got too close to the robot and was trapped. The robotic arm went through him and he died on the spot, police said. "We are looking at CCTV footage and gathering information from workers and the company," a police officer said.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajesh Kumar said the company management and the contractor who had engaged the victim had been booked on charges of causing death due to negligence. The deceased lived at Aliyar Dhana, a village near Manesar, in a rented accommodation with his wife and four sisters. He had got married around a year ago. Such fatalities are rare as robots are generally kept in enclosures to prevent contact with workers. On June 29, a worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany died after a robot grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate.

Angry workers halted work at the factory in protest and a meeting between workers and the management was underway at the time of filing this report.

(Originally published in The Times of India)

Robot Stabs A Man To Death At A Factory In Haryana's Manesar!

A man has been killed by a robot at a car parts factory in India.

The 24-year-old worker was reportedly adjusting a metal sheet being welded by the machine when he was stabbed by one of its arms.

Ramji Lal, from Uttar Pradesh, had been working at a SKH Metals factory in Manesar for around 18 months when the accident

Worker killed by robot in welding accident at car parts factory in India

GURGAON: This one’s straight out of a Terminator film. Sharp welding sticks jutting out of the robotic arm of a machine pierced a worker killing him at a factory here on Wednesday. The worker had apparently moved too close to the robot while adjusting a metal sheet that had come unstuck.The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital but he was dead by the time he was wheeled in.Ramji Lal (24), from Unnao, UP, worked as a loader for SKH Metals, an auto ancillary company, at the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar. He joined a year-and-a-half ago.Lal was at work in the welding unit that has special-purpose machines and robotic welding lines. Around 63 workers and 39 robots were on duty when the accident took place.“The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts. One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal’s abdomen,” a co-worker said. Another shop floor colleague claimed that had Lal approached the robot from the front and hadn’t stooped to adjust the sheet, the accident wouldn’t have happened.Kuldeep Janghu, general secretary of Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union, told TOI: “The accident occurred due to the negligence of the management. No effort has been made to make the robots accident proof. We want compensation and an inquiry into the incident.” The union demanded safety measures put in place for all units using robots, he added. Preliminary investigation shows the victim got too close to the robot and was trapped. The robotic arm went through him and he died on the spot , police said. “We are looking at CCTV footage and gathering information from workers and the company,” a police officer said.Assistant Commissioner of Police Rajesh Kumar said the company management and the contractor who had engaged the victim had been booked on charges of causing death due to negligence. The deceased lived at Aliyar Dhana, a village near Manesar, in a rented accommodation with his wife and four sisters. He had got married around a year ago.Such fatalities are rare as robots are generally kept in enclosures to prevent contact with workers. On June 29, a worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany died after a robot grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate.Angry workers halted work at the factory in protest and a meeting between workers and the management was underway at the time of filing this report.

Terminator redux? Robot kills a man at Haryana's Manesar factory

Representational pic

It reads like the beginning of a robo-acocalypse sci-fi movie, but in this case the damage and the tragedy is all too real. A 24-year-old contractor who worked at a plant in Manesar in Haryana received an electric shock when he came in contact with a robot.

The victim had apparently moved too close to the robot while adjusting a metal sheet that had come unstuck. The 24-old-year contractor was rushed to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The victim worked as a loader at an car ancillary company at the Industrial Model Township (IMT) in Manesar. He was at work in the welding unit that has special-purpose machines and robotic welding lines. Around 63 workers and 39 robots were on duty when the accident took place.

A co-worker at the plant stated that the robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts. One such sheet got dislodged and the 24-year-old contractor reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced his abdomen.

Such fatalities are rare as robots are generally kept in enclosures to prevent contact with workers. On June 29, a worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany died after a robot grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate.

Robot kills a man at Haryana's Manesar factory

By Joseph George

A robot working in a factory of a car manufacturing plant in India has killed a co-worker after he tried to fix a minor error in the work process.

The incident occurred on Wednesday when the factory worker had gone around the robot to adjust a metal plate that the robot was handling at that particular time.

Media reports from India are giving two different versions of how the man was killed.

A report in the Times of India quoting a co-worker says the man was killed after welding sticks attached to the robot pierced 24-year-old Ramji Lal.

Another report by India TV quoting a police source points out that the man died of electric shock when he went too close to the robot.

The man was one of the 63 workers who were deployed along with 34 robots working in the plant at the time of the accident.

Worker associations have already started blaming the factory for lack of safety features, resulting in the accident.

The incident has occurred even as several leading scientists and industrialists have called upon responsible use of robotic technology, especially the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry.

Over 1,000 scientists and robotic experts including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Noam Chomsky and Steven Wozniak have called for a ban on robots that have the ability to kill, especially offensive autonomous weapons.

Under an initiative by the Future of Life Institute, the petition has called for an end to machines and robots that can kill without the involvement of human decision making.

“Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention…. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: Autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms,” the petition argues.

The signatories state that while Artificial Intelligence has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so.

Robot kills co-worker in a car factory in India

A 24-year-old worker at a car parts factory in India has been killed by a robot.

According to the Times of India, Ramji Lal was adjusting a metal sheet being welded by the robot when he was stabbed and electrocuted by sharp welding sticks on one of the robot’s arms. The victim had been working as a loader for SKH Metals at the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar for a year and a half.

The report says Lal moved too close to the robot to adjust a metal sheet that was stuck. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead by the time he arrived.

Angry workers halted work at the factory in protest.

“The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts. One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal’s abdomen,” a co-worker says.

Kuldeep Janghu, general secretary of Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union, tells the Times of India, “The accident occurred due to the negligence of the management. No effort has been made to make the robots accident proof. We want compensation and an inquiry into the incident.” The union demanded safety measures put in place for all units using robots, he added.

Such fatalities are rare as robots are generally kept in cages to prevent contact with workers. On June 29, 2015, a worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany died after a robot grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate.

A Volkswagen spokesperson said it wasn’t a collaborative robot outside a safety cage that works alongside the other workers. The robot was inside a safety cage at the time of the accident. However, the technician was inside the safety cage at the time of the accident. The second worker was outside the cage and wasn’t harmed.

Factory Robot Kills Worker in India

GURGAON (Web Desk) – A robot working in a factory of a car manufacturing plant in Haryana, India, has killed a co-worker after he tried to fix a minor error in the work process. The incident occurred earlier this week

GURGAON (Web Desk) – A robot working in a factory of a car manufacturing plant in Haryana, India, has killed a co-worker after he tried to fix a minor error in the work process.

The incident occurred earlier this week when the factory worker had gone around the robot to adjust a metal plate that the robot was handling at that particular time, the Emirates247 reported.

The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital but he was dead by the time he was wheeled in.

Ramji Lal (24), from Unnao, UP, worked as a loader for SKH Metals, an auto ancillary company, at the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar. He joined a year-and-a-half ago.

Lal was at work in the welding unit that has special-purpose machines and robotic welding lines. Around 63 workers and 39 robots were on duty when the accident took place.

“The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts. One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal’s abdomen,” a co-worker said. Another shop floor colleague claimed that had Lal approached the robot from the front and hadn’t stooped to adjust the sheet, the accident wouldn’t have happened.

Worker associations have already started blaming the factory for lack of safety features, resulting in the accident.

The incident has occurred even as several leading scientists and industrialists have called upon responsible use of robotic technology, especially the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry.

Over 1,000 scientists and robotic experts including Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Noam Chomsky and Steven Wozniak have called for a ban on robots that have the ability to kill, especially offensive autonomous weapons.

Read more: Top researchers urge ban on artificially intelligent ‘Killer Robots’

Under an initiative by the Future of Life Institute, the petition has called for an end to machines and robots that can kill without the involvement of human decision making.

“Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention…. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: Autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms,” the petition argues.

The signatories state that while Artificial Intelligence has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so.

Robot kills India factory worker

A man has been killed by a robot at a car parts factory in India.

The 24-year-old worker was reportedly adjusting a metal sheet being welded by the machine when he was stabbed by one of its arms.

Ramji Lal, from Uttar Pradesh, had been working at a SKH Metals factory in Manesar for around 18 months when the accident happened, the Times of India reported.

“The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts,” one of his colleagues told the newspaper.

“One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal's abdomen.”

Some local media reports claimed Mr Lal was electrocuted during the accident and died at the scene, although his cause of death has not been confirmed.

Police are viewing CCTV footage of the factory and interviewing dozens of workers who were there at the time as the investigation continues.

Assistant Commissioner Rajesh Kuwar told the Indo-Asian News Service: “The company management and the contractor have been booked on charges of causing death due to negligence.”

The Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union has demanded a full enquiry into Mr Lal’s death and increased safety measures governing work with robots.

SKH Metals could not be reached for a comment.

It came after an employee at a Volkswagen factory in Germany was killed in another accident involving a robot.

Source: The Independent (UK)

Welding robot kills worker

If you grew up in the U.S., you’ve probably seen at least one episode of The Jetsons, a cartoon from the 1960s depicting a 21st-century futuristic society with push-button meals, floating cities, and a robot named Rosie.

In the episode titled Rip-Off Rosie, George Jetson fixes the fried memory chips of a robot called Robotto and earns himself a raise and a day off. He takes the faulty part home to show his family, and his robot maid Rosie accidentally eats it, mistaking it for candy. The faulty part makes Rosie go crazy. Her demeanor gets menacing, her eyes pop out, and she uncontrollably destroys everything in the house.

This scene may have been crafted by the creators of a children’s cartoon, but today, destructive robots are not a made-up scenario. Not only are robots taking over our jobs, but they might soon dominate our strength as a species.

Robots sometimes take human lives

Everyone loves a good bot battle in a virtual environment, but put a robot up against a human and it’s an unfair fight.

Like Rosie the robot, all it takes is a glitch or an oversight for a robot to become deadly. Although they’re programmed using the best in AI technology, it’s impossible to program empathy into a robot. Like Data from Star Trek, a robot can learn, but it can’t feel.

Perhaps if robots were isolated, the danger would be less. However, these robots often work alongside humans in factories, and they have caused many injuries and deaths.

In 1981, a motorcycle factory worker named Kenji Urada was killed by an AI robot working nearby. For some reason, the robot identified him as a threat and pushed him into a machine. The robot used its hydraulic arm to smash the worker which killed him instantly, and returned to perform its job duties.

In 2015, a 22-year-old man working at a Volkswagen plant in Germany was killed by the robot he was assembling. He was putting together the robot that grabs and assembles various automobile parts when the robot grabbed him and slammed him up against a metal plate. The man died from his injuries.

Also in 2015, Ramji Lal was killed at Haryana’s Manesar factory in India when he approached a robot from behind. He adjusted a piece of sheet metal carried by the robot, and was pierced by welding sticks attached to its arm. Coworkers claim his mistake was approaching from behind instead of the front, but the fact that it happened at all is cause for concern.

Who is responsible when robots kill?

When a robot kills, who can be held accountable? Is it considered murder? Is it reckless homicide? According to criminal law expert Rowdy Williams, murder is defined as “knowingly or intentionally killing another human being or unborn child” and reckless homicide is “recklessly causing the death of another.”

If the consequences of murder include life in prison, fines, and even the death penalty, how can they be applied to a robot? If a human is found responsible for the robot’s actions, is it fair to apply those consequences to someone who didn’t actually commit murder?

What happens if someone decides to use AI technology to program robots to kill? What happens when a driverless car malfunctions and mows down innocent people on the sidewalk?

In his book When Robots Kill, law professor Gabriel Hallevy discusses the criminal liability of using AI entities in commercial, industrial, military, medical, and personal spheres. He explores many of the concerns mentioned above.

Hallevy sets out his purpose in the book’s preface: “The objective of this book is to develop a comprehensive, general, and legally sophisticated theory of the criminal liability for artificial intelligence and robotics. In addition to the AI entity itself, the theory covers the manufacturer, the programmer, the user, and all other entities involved. Identifying and selecting analogies from existing principles of criminal law, the theory proposes specific ways of thinking through criminal liability for a diverse array of autonomous technologies in a diverse set of reasonable circumstances.”

The most important questions Hallevy explores is whether criminal liability and criminal punishment are applicable to machines. His book focuses only on the criminal liability of AI entities and does not dive into ethics.

Perhaps Hallevy’s work will create the foundation for another conversation to consider the ethics involved in AI entities, based on the framework he has provided. It’s a complex matter and there is no clear answer yet, but perhaps we’ll find an answer before the next deadly incident.

Larry Alton is a contributing writer at VentureBeat covering artificial intelligence.

Robots can kill, but can they murder?

Sharp welding sticks jutting out of the robotic arm of a machine pierced a worker killing him at a factory in India recently, according to a report.

The victim, Ramji Lal, worked as a loader for SKH Metals, an auto ancillary company, at the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar, said the Times of India report.

He worked at the welding unit that has special-purpose machines and robotic welding lines, it said.

"The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts. One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal's abdomen," a co-worker was quoted as saying.

Another shop floor colleague claimed that had Lal approached the robot from the front and hadn't stooped to adjust the sheet, the accident wouldnot have happened.

The preliminary investigation showed the victim got too close to the robot and was trapped. The robotic arm went through him and he died on the spot, police said.

"We are looking at CCTV footage and gathering information from workers and the company," a police officer was quoted as saying.

Sharp welding sticks in robot kills worker in India

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