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Man gets crushed to death by robot that thought he was a box of vegetables

Stewart Perrie

| Last updated 

Man gets crushed to death by robot that thought he was a box of vegetables

A man has been crushed to death by a robot that thought he was a box of vegetables.

Not only are robots taking our jobs, but they're also taking us out.

The man in his 40s was working at a distribution centre in South Korea when the tragedy occurred.

The National Post reports he was inspecting a robot's sensor ahead of the plant introducing a new sorting line.


The machine was meant to be placing boxes of peppers onto a pallet at the factory in the South Gyeongsang province but it accidentally grabbed the worker.

He was horrifically thrust against the conveyor belt and the machine crushed his face and chest.

Emergency services were called and he was transported to hospital, however sadly died from his injuries.

The robot had been in use for five years.

Credit: Issarawat Tattong/Getty Images
Credit: Issarawat Tattong/Getty Images

Robots killing workers is nothing new.

The first time it happened was all the way back in the '70s.

On 25 January, 1979, Robert Williams was asked to scale a massive shelving unit in a Ford Motor Company casting plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.


The factory worker needed to manually count some parts.

The five-story machine used to retrieve the castings was giving false readings and the 25-year-old needed to manually go up there to find the actual amount.

But a robot arm was also tasked with retrieving these parts. The arm of a 1-ton production-line robot.

And while Williams had climbed up there, the robot also began to slowly run.


Williams was struck in the head by the robots’ arm and killed instantly.

As they do, the robot just continued working and the young man lay there dead for 30 minutes before co-workers found his body, according to Knight-Ridder reporting.

Williams’ family sued the robot’s manufactures, Litton Industries, and won a $10 million (£7.8m) lawsuit for his wrongful death.

The death was of course completely unintentional - the robot hadn’t gone about seeking to kill the man, it was just completing its regular job.


A jury agreed there wasn’t enough care into the design considering this and the court concluded there simply hadn’t been enough safety measures in place to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening.

Featured Image Credit: Vithun Khamsong/Getty Images. Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images

Topics: Technology

Stewart Perrie
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