• Sweden's news in English

Robot attacked Swedish factory worker

TT/The Local · 28 Apr 2009, 10:12

Published: 28 Apr 2009 10:12 GMT+02:00

Public prosecutor Leif Johansson mulled pressing charges against the firm but eventually opted to settle for a fine.

"I've never heard of a robot attacking somebody like this," he told news agency TT.

The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in Bålsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation.

But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.

"The man was very lucky. He broke four ribs and came close to losing his life," said Leif Johansson.

The matter was subject to an investigation by both the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) and the police.

Story continues below…

Prosecutor Johansson chastised the company for its inadequate safety procedures but he also placed part of the blame on the injured worker.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:01 April 28, 2009 by byke
"Transformers , robots in disguise"
11:04 April 28, 2009 by Miss Kitten
The Rise of the Machines
11:43 April 28, 2009 by zeero
Mr. Johansson, have you ever heard of a robot attacking somebody in any other way?

I think Sweden should pay more attention to their skynet program and immediately call Arnold Schwarzenegger.
13:37 April 28, 2009 by scrim
This has very little to do with the robot and everything to do with proper following of lock out/tag out procedures on industrial equipment. There should certainly be an investigation, but into the safety procedures, not the robot.
15:17 April 28, 2009 by Braderunner Rennuredarb
Amen Scrim.

I love it when morons like this guy blame the robot or the company they are working for because they dont know how to lock and tag out a piece of machinery.

Darwin at work yet again...but didnt get to follow through.
15:32 April 28, 2009 by Markbase with an Invisible Q
Ahh... Reminds me of an old Stranglers song:


Get out of their way


Of get way their out

They're gonna want a union soon

Oil break that's dead on noon


Their way out of get

You won't have to grease their palms

Shorter hours longer arms

Rise just watch them rise

The rise of the robots

Versatran Series F!

15:33 April 28, 2009 by VikingHumpingWitch
Dunno how it works here, but I recall a case from not that long back in Britain where a guy fell off a stepladder and claimed compensation from his employers for not training him on how to climb a stepladder without falling off and hurting himself. In fact they had trained him on this, but clearly not well enough, because he managed to fall off anyway. (In case anyone doesn't believe me, here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england...re/7477461.stm)

So I'm not surprised that the firm got into some trouble too. Although I suspect as far as "blaming" the robot goes, it's more that "Robot attacks man!!!!11" is just a great story.
15:41 April 28, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
Hehe... Bite my shiny metal ass, humans!
15:44 April 28, 2009 by Paulo +fab muscular than Jonnhy
Hasta la vista, baby! LOL

That's what the robot was *saying* when attacking this guy, wasn't it?
16:44 April 28, 2009 by Miss Kitten
I recall reading something similar about a prison inmate who sued the prison for negligence when he broke his back doing a back flip off a picnic table in the prison courtyard. He claimed that the prison guards should have attempted to stop him from doing the flip or at least told him not to. Isn't it great when people refuse to accept responsibility for their stupidity?
18:47 April 28, 2009 by Muttlestar Galactica
Photos back on MY Local???
20:33 April 28, 2009 by AlabamaGirl
Thanks for the laugh Zeero. LOL I needed that. :)
09:53 April 29, 2009 by Britswedeguy
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.
01:15 May 1, 2009 by La Figaro
We claim we live in a civilized or politically correct world but at the expense of common sense

The robot didn't locate the man to attack him, it was programmed to work in a certain way so when man came within its range, it reacted.
17:30 May 4, 2009 by Nemesis
This story belongs on the Darwin Awards.


It is unfortunate the idiot did not fulfil the full criteria for an award.
01:02 July 29, 2009 by Yukiko Murphy
"Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation." The man's problem is he thought. Most likely his pay grade didn't allow for thinking. He should have used a lockout tag and made sure the machinery was off. All power the the machine should have been disconnected. The fault is not with the company it is with the fool who tried a short cut instead of doing a proper job of preparing for the maintenance. The worker should have been fined not the company.
01:22 July 29, 2009 by jack sprat
So where to get hold of one of these wonderful machines ?

Could make a fantastic Mother in Law, Christmas present,...

Can always tell her its the latest hi-tec vacuum cleaner,....guaranteed to pick eveything up!...
02:49 July 29, 2009 by Perf
Maybe it was a racist hate crime.
04:34 July 29, 2009 by Redwoodbob
Skynet is pleased.
05:34 July 29, 2009 by Iben_Hadd
Being an ALDERNOID 3300ZR I have never attacked a human without provocation!
15:55 July 29, 2009 by Specialist
Years ago, I worked with a piece of equipment that could really hurt someone if it moved when the worker wasn't expecting it. (Same idea as this robot.)

We had two things: first, we had a safety light. If the power to the motor drive was ON, so was the light, and it was a big, offensive one, that you were NOT going to miss noticing if you were in the workcell.

Second, we had a "no exceptions" two-man rule. NOBODY was allowed to work alone in that cell. There ALWAYS had to be a second man present, if only to kill the power and call for help if something went wrong.

Every robotic work cell I have ever seen included safety lights. Most included safety barriers, keeping people OUT, and safety cutoff switches on the barriers, to kill the power if someone came into the cell.

I don't have all the facts, but it sounds as though someone at this company, probably a lot higher up the food chain than this poor guy, was being really careless with safety.
05:05 July 30, 2009 by KarmaTiger
Seems most of you fail to consider that "he thought he had deactivated it" could mean he pushed the appropriate buttons, but the safety lockouts were in poor repair or disabled by the company - which is what would lead to the company being held culpable. If the company WAS blameless, they would have fought the fine.

But no, you just assume the worker was an idiot and the company was blameless. Sheesh - it's a short article. Next time consider there may be more to the story.
05:17 July 30, 2009 by glassparrot
Does the Swedish word for "attack" not translate well? Or is the writer of the article just playfully engaging in anthropomorphism?
19:07 July 30, 2009 by hellfirekult
The humans are dead
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