Robot kills man at Volkswagen plant in Germany

Germany Volkswagen_147364

Robots weld a Passat Variant body during a press tour at the plant of the German car manufacturer Volkswagen Sachsen in Zwickau, Germany, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. More than 4.7 Million vehicles (Golf and Passat) have left the production facilities since foundation of the Zwickau plant in 1990. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

BERLIN (AP) – A robot has killed a contractor at one of Volkswagen’s production plants in Germany, the automaker said Wednesday.

The man died Monday at the plant in Baunatal, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Frankfurt, VW spokesman Heiko Hillwig said.

The 22-year-old was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate, Hillwig said.

He said initial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process. He said it normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them.

Another contractor was present when the incident occurred, but wasn’t harmed, Hillwig said. He declined to give any more details about the case, citing an ongoing investigation.

A German news agency reported that prosecutors were considering whether to bring charges, and if so, against whom.

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