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Box-lifting robot kills worker at produce center

By No Kyung-min

Published : Nov. 8, 2023 - 17:39

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A worker in his 40s was crushed by an industrial robot that apparently failed to differentiate a human from crates of farm produce for it to move, police said Wednesday.

The accident happened Tuesday at approximately 7:45 p.m. when the robotics company worker was inspecting the sensor operations of a robot at a distribution center for agricultural produce in Goseong-gun, South Gyeongsang Province, according to Goseong Police Station.

The robot, designed to handle boxes filled with paprika peppers and place them on a pallet, appears to have malfunctioned and erroneously identified the man as a box, according to police authorities.

The robotic arm pushed the man's upper body down against the conveyor belt, trapping him there, a report said.

The man died in the hospital after succumbing to injuries he sustained to his chest and face.

The police are preparing to launch an investigation into the on-site safety managers for possible negligence in duties.