A Terminator. Paramount Pictures

A bemused employment journalist found her Twitter feed flooded with references to sci-fi classic Terminator after tweeting about an industrial accident.

After linking to a news story about a robot that killed an independent contractor at one of Volkswagen's production plants in Germany, Sarah O'Connor was inundated with jokes and references to another Sarah Connor - the fictional character who fights against the Skynet artificial intelligence system that attempts to destroy mankind.

The Financial Times journalist warned people tweeting her: "I wouldn't follow me - I tweet really boring stuff about unit wage costs and the like," but the jokes kept coming.

She admitted she might have thought more carefully about the associations her name would have with the story, though that didn't stop the eager tweeters.

Eventually, she tried to remind followers of the seriousness of the original subject: "Feeling really uncomfortable about this inadvertent Twitter thing I seem to have kicked off. Somebody died. Let's not forget."

The accident in Germany happened as the controller was installing the robot in a new electric motor production line.

The robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process, grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate at the plant in Baunatal, about 100km north of Frankfurt.

Accidents of this nature are rare in Western production plants where large robots are kept behind safety cages. In this case, the contractor was working inside the safety cage when he was killed.