Clemmie Vandeleur

Lloyd’s Register Foundation: Solving the challenges to Safety

Every day, millions of people around the world encounter situations in their daily lives where their safety is threatened. How can their safety be improved? Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Nesta want to tackle important safety issues through running a consultation with industry stakeholders. This blog provides some examples of hazards but we want to hear about your experience! Please fill in our short questionnaire at www.safety.challenges.org and tell us what you think about safety.

 

Solving the challenges to Safety

Around the world, every 15 seconds a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease. Every 15 seconds 153 workers are injured from a work-related accident (1). The number of people who encounter accidents in public spaces is an impossible one to quantify, yet we know that 1.25 million people die every year in road accidents alone.

Lloyd’s Register Foundation has set itself the exciting challenge of solving safety issues worldwide. The Foundation, whose global mandate is the ‘safety of life and property’, is to embark on identifying problems in order to stimulate solutions to solvable safety issues.

Safety-related catastrophes come in many shapes and forms. Here are a few examples that the Foundation is interested in finding solutions to, through innovation, education, or further research:

Tower crane operation

Tower cranes are commonly used in manufacturing and construction industries. The three most common hazards involve electrical hazards, overloading, and materials slipping from overhead hoists.

Approximately 200 people die every year from electrification, and three times as many are injured, when the crane comes into contact with a high voltage power source. 80% of crane failures are attributed to overloading, which causes severe injury to anyone in the vicinity of work being carried out.

Falling materials are a regular hazard for all sites of construction. Training, maintenance of hoists, and operational competency all affect the likelihood of hazards.

Is there room for technological innovation in one of the world’s most dangerous industries? Or is it more important to ensure operational safety through training?

Outsourcing of manufacturing

The shift of manufacturing from industrialised countries in the developed world to sources of cheaper labour in emerging and developing economies brings with it issues of lower safety standards, lack of labour protections, and a cultural imbalance in the way safety measures are prescribed to new working populations.

Technical standards, such as inspection and maintenance of factories, do not exist in many manufacturing hubs across the globe due to lack of policy provision by governments.

The garment industry in Bangladesh caters to global brands such as H&M, Gap and Walmart. The electronics industry in China caters to Apple, Philips and Sony, among others. How do these companies ensure that their global supply chains afford safety to workers when they are not in control of their manufacturing processes and workers’ rights are limited?

Automation in industry

In higher income countries, automation in manufacturing, services, and transport has started to redefine safety in the workplace, the workplace itself, and safety within public space. Workers no longer use machines, but instead they collaborate with them in manufacturing processes, particularly the car industry and the construction industry.

In 2015 a robot in a Volkswagen car factory in Germany crushed a worker to death. How can safety risks, in the redefined relationship between machine and human, be mitigated in this technological revolution?

Robotics will be increasingly used on construction sites by workers to prevent repetitive strain injury, meanwhile drones will buzz overhead conducting progress reports of construction sites. At the same time, drones are being used by members of the public for personal use.

How do we ensure the safety of airspace and that users of the technology use it safely? Once Uber starts using self-driving cars, how safe will the public feel?

Attitudes

As technology reaches new peaks, people become more complacent about safety. It is quite common knowledge that flying by plane is the safest form of transport. Can anyone blame passengers for not watching airlines’ on-flight safety demonstrations?

Cracking complacency in the workplace and in public is one of the biggest challenges companies struggle with today. Ensuring employees follow specific safety standards rather than the ones they have been used to from previous employers is an important area for consideration as operating technologies change.

Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Nesta want to tackle important safety issues like these through running a consultation with industry stakeholders. We’re hoping to hear many more examples like these that can help us solve some of the most prominent hazards of today. Please visit the website www.safety.challenges.org and fill in our questionnaire.

 

(1) International Labour Organisation