In July 2015, 57-year-old Wanda Holbrook was killed in an industrial accident at Ventra Main in Michigan when her head was crushed by machinery.
According to an OSHA investigation, the company wasn't using lockout when Holbrook entered a cell to perform maintenance on the robots. According to the lawsuit, a robot took Wanda by surprise, and entered the cell she was working in and "hit and crushed Wanda's head between a hitch assembly it was attempting to place in a fixture."
In January 2016, OSHA fined Ventra Main $7,000 for the serious safety violation after a nearly eight-month investigation. According to M Live, Holbrook's husband, William Holbrook, filed a $75,000 wrongful death suit last week against five companies tied to the robotic equipment that crushed her.
William Holbrook is suing FANUC North America, Nachi Robotic Systems, Lincoln Electric, Flex-N-Gate and Prodomax Automation for failing to properly design, manufacture, test or monitor their technology.
According to the lawsuit, "The defendants failed to design the automation system so as to eliminate any unreasonable risk of foreseeable injury."
Ventra Main is an automotive supplier that welds and stamps bumpers and trailer hitches. Holbrook was a journeymen maintenance technician who had worked at the factory for 12 years in the maintenance department.