The paper focuses on design and joint impedance control of a new teleoperated robot arm enabling torque measurement in each joint by means of incorporation of devised optical torque sensors. When the contact of arm with an object occurs, joint impedance algorithm provides active compliance of corresponding robot arm joint. Thus, the whole structure of the manipulator can safely interact with unstructured environment. In the paper, we describe detailed design procedure of the 4-DOF robot arm and optical torque sensors. To extract force signal from measured data, the gravity compensation algorithm was elaborated and verified. The experimental results of joint impedance control show that proposed strategy provides safe interaction of entire structure of robot arm with human beings and ensures the collision avoidance.