Guinness World Records - Officially Amazing

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For the record

  • Who: Robert Williams

  • What: First human to be killed by a robot

  • Where: United States

On 25 January 1979, Robert Williams (USA) was struck in the head and killed by the arm of a 1-ton production-line robot in a Ford Motor Company casting plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, USA, becoming the first fatal casualty of a robot. The robot was part of a parts-retrieval system that moved material from one part of the factory to another; when the robot began running slowly, Williams reportedly climbed into the storage rack to retrieve parts manually when he was struck in the head and killed instantly.

Robots pose a significant work-place risk, despite safety measures introduced to limit injury. In 2005 in the UK alone there were 77 robot-related accidents.


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