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Workplace accidents: Who's at fault if a robot causes one?

Those who work in the Illinois construction industry no doubt understand the high risk for injury associated with their jobs. Construction work typically tops most lists as one of the most dangerous types of employment in the United States. Some companies have begun to implement changes that officials believe may help reduce the number of workplace accidents that occur.

However, the new system also prompts several important questions, one of which pertains to potential liability if an accident takes place. The changes can be observed in a company who is currently taking on a large building project at an Illinois naval station. Robots are being used to do manual labor. 

The machines are programmed to lay and "butter" bricks, which is usually a job that human workers do. With the new robotics system in place, the employees on this particular job site take on a more secondary role, namely, helping to guide the bricks into place, then cleaning up the mortar to fine tune its appearance. The robots can lay and butter a brick approximately every 12 seconds or less.

On one hand, it is logical to assume that using robots to do heavy, high-risk building may lower the number of workplace accidents that occur in Illinois. On the other hand, however, a lot of people are asking who would bear responsibility if an accident involving a robot occurs and a human worker suffers injury? Time will tell if more companies start using robots to perform construction jobs that, up to now, have always been carried out by human laborers. Any worker who suffers injury on the job, whether involving a robot or not, is wise to seek legal support before filing a benefits claim, especially if the case is complex.

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