A robot at a Volkswagen factory in Germany has crushed an employee to death by pushing him against a metal plate.
The 22-year-old-male suffered serious injuries at the plant in Baunatal and later died in hospital.
Although robots are usually kept in cages to prevent accidents such as this occurring, the staff member was working inside the cage as part of the team installing the robot. Another employee was also present but was unharmed.
A spokesperson for Volkswagen explained that the incident is being attributed to human error rather than a mechanical fault.
“Earlier this week a contractor was injured while installing some machinery in the Kassel factory,” the spokesperson told the Independent. “He died later in hospital from his injuries and our thoughts are with his family. We are of course carrying out a thorough investigation into the incident and cannot comment further at this time.”
Robots are widely used in the automobile industry, contributing towards a more efficient assembly process. Although they are capable of carrying out a variety of tasks, the robot at the Volkswagen plant was designed to grab car parts and manipulate them.
Following the tragic accident, German news agency dpa is reporting that prosecutors are now considering whether to press charges, investigating who, if anyone, is culpable.