New Global Trends in Safety and Security: Collaborative Safety2.0 and Vision Zero
NECA’s Initiatives for New Safety Mechanisms
Vice Chairman of Nippon Electric Control Equipment Industries Association (NECA)
Chairman of the Control Safety Committee
Toshihiro Fujita, Ph.D.
The world is in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With the progress of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology and artificial intelligence, along with the robotic revolution, the Japanese government and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) are promoting “Society 5.0” and “connected industries.” Nippon Electric Control Equipment Industries Association (NECA) has been actively pursuing an initiative called “5-ZERO Manufacturing” since 2017 as part of this endeavor. One of the zeros in the 5-ZERO initiative is “zero accident,” i.e. it is about safety.
NECA established the Control Safety Committee when it hosted an international safety symposium in 1999. The committee has so far carried out more than 200 initiatives on its own to actively promote not only the manufacturing side of safety (the development of safety technologies and safety equipment), but also the establishment of safety mechanisms (the fostering of people through a certification system and the establishment of international standards and certification programs), playing a central role in NECA’s “Three-S” initiative (standardization, safety, and sustainability) and the development of new safety mechanisms.
NECA’s activities for the past 20 years have revealed that new ideas and concepts regarding safety and security are emerging on a global scale, and latent social needs have started to come to the surface like a rising tide, as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. NECA, anticipating such a trend, hosted international safety symposiums in 2016 and 2018 by inviting safety experts from the West. 1), 2), 3) Figure 1 shows global developments, developments in Japan, and developments within NECA, in the past several years. It lists topics that the author considers important in discussing safety and anshin (a sense of trust and assurance without any fear or stress).
In this article, the author discusses, as vice chairman of NECA, how technology, human resources, and management, as well as the formation of various systems and international standardization rules, have been evolving, and how NECA, which places an emphasis on the development of new mechanisms, should involve itself in the process of their evolution in the context of Japan’s ambition to lead the world in the field of safety and anshin.
Figure 1 Global and domestic developments regarding safety and anshin, and developments within NECA
The Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA) in May 2019 published a book entitled Safety2.0 to wa nani ka? Kakuri no anzen kara kyocho anzen e (What is Safety2.0?: From safety by isolation to collaborative safety, authored by Masao Mukaidono, professor emeritus at Meiji University). Figure 2 shows the cover of the book.4)
In addition, the developments in Japan regarding Safety2.0, a new safety concept, were featured in a special 2017 edition of seiden, the association’s member journal. These developments, introduced at the International Conference on Safety of Industrial Automated Systems (SIAS) held in France in October 2018, are now globally known.5), 6) Figure 3 and Figure 4 list items taken from the 2019 book regarding the evolution of the concept of safety. These items are in line with the theme of the book expressed on the cover: “How will the progress of information and communications technology (ICT) change society and safety?”
Figure 3 The evolution from Safety0.0 to Safety1.0 and to Safety2.0 and their features
Figure 4 The evolution of Safety1.0 over the past 20 years and its details
The idea of safety has changed with the times.7), 8) Take, for example, a production site at a manufacturing company. The most rudimentary form is Safety0.0, in which ensuring safety solely relies on workers’ attention and judgment. Until the 1980s, in order to prevent accidents involving dangerous machines workers simply tried to be vigilant. However, it is difficult to ensure safety under Safety0.0 because people make mistakes. Therefore, a transition was made to Safety1.0, in which safety was ensured by the design of machine systems.
Especially in the industrial field, various international safety standards for machinery, such as those of ISO and IEC, began to be developed from around 1990 until 2000, mostly in Europe. As a result, it has become common practice to conduct risk assessments to reduce risks, and design fail-safe and foolproof machinery fulfilling the requirements of various safety standards. This approach seeks to ensure safety, for example by determining the operating areas of machines and those of humans, installing fences and interlocks accordingly to prevent people from crossing the fences when the machine is in operation, and allowing them to enter only after the machine stops. In other words, Safety1.0 ensures safety through the machinery safety principle of isolating and stopping machines. Needless to say technical advancements were made from 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 to 1.5 within Safety1.0 as shown in Figure 4, and international standards have also been updated in accordance with the technological innovations that reflect the state-of-the-art technologies of the time.
Recently, questions have been raised from factory workers as to whether Safety1.0 is really the optimal approach. Under Safety1.0, industrial robots must be surrounded by fences and these robots stop operating whenever the door is opened. This has raised questions as to whether such robots must always be stopped no matter who opens the door (the person could be an experienced worker or a new worker) and whether it could be possible to keep the robots working or reduce their speed according to the person’s qualifications. The fact that using fences also requires more space, calls for alternative solutions. It is desirable to keep machines in operation as much as possible, and to allow machines and workers to be in proximity and interact with each other in processing tasks, in order to achieve more flexibility and higher productivity. Furthermore, there has been increasing demand for a collaborative area, where machines and people share the same space. All this makes it increasingly difficult to ensure safety by relying only on the principle of isolating and stopping machines.
Therefore, Safety2.0, a new approach to realizing collaborative safety between people and machines at a higher level, has been called for to allow people and machines to work together in the same area without fences, while ensuring safety to improve productivity. Safety2.0, built on the collaboration among people, machines, and the work environment, is an essential concept to achieve the collaborative safety of systems using collaborative robots, which are spreading rapidly. Simply put, it represents a turning point from an old approach, which handles each matter separately, to a new approach, which is more holistic.
Figure 5 Changes in wireless standards and an illustration of changes in the risk/safety concept (the Lion Model)
Figure 5 describes the differences between Safety0.0, Safety1.0, and Safety2.0 using an illustration that can easily be understood. Here, a lion is used in place of a dangerous machine. First, only the lion exists, posing no risks unless there are people present.
However, under Safety0.0, a person and the lion coexist in the same space. Staying vigilant is the only way to keep the person from getting injured. This involves a huge risk because an accident can occur at any time. Safety1.0 ensures safety by putting the lion in a cage and isolating it from the person. Under Safety2.0, the dangerous lion, released from the cage, coexists with the person in the same environment. This requires thorough risk assessment and a new mechanism that ensures safety and anshin.
The upper part of Figure 5 cites the much-talked-about 5G technology as an example of telecommunications innovations. Telecommunications technology is advancing at a rapid pace. In contrast, the concepts and technologies related to safety and anshin undergo changes every two decades, an innovation cycle that is more moderate. Even so, it may be generally recognized that evolution is indeed taking place as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Under Safety1.0, safety experts and engineers have been able to manage risks using risk-assessment methods and risk-reduction methods based on international safety standards. However, Safety2.0 will require systemic concept formulation and risk assessment at a higher level. Thus, senior managers and supervisors must identify the changes that are currently taking place and foresee future developments, instead of leaving the matter entirely to employees who are directly responsible. In other words, the effectiveness will drastically improve if the goal is “total optimization,” instead of “partial optimization.”
Figure 6 The attitudes of Japanese managers indicated by a survey among certified safety assessors (2017)
The first priority for companies should be safety management. However, senior managers are often reluctant to invest in safety, hoping to reduce safety expenses and maximize profits. Is this a correct approach? Figure 6 shows interesting data. This is a result of a survey among certified safety assessors aimed at identifying the job positions of employees who are responsible for safety (i.e., executives, managers, or persons in charge). The respondents, certified safety assessors, were also asked whether their companies were strategically pursuing safety measures or handling the issue in a haphazard manner. According to the survey, only 20% of the respondents said that executives in their companies were directly involved, and that these executives were pursuing the efforts strategically from the perspective of improving corporate value. A total of 40% said that executives at their companies were not involved and that their companies did not have any strategies regarding this matter.
Unfortunately, the survey has revealed that Japan has a long way to go when it comes to the commitment of corporate managers even as various efforts are now underway, including the zero-accident movement that has been pursued by JISHA since 1972 as a forerunner in the world. As long as executives persist in their erroneous view that safety is a cost, despite the new safety trends, there remains a danger that they could end up implementing measures that are superficial. In fact, safety investments are the very means by which people can regain their human-centered work style, accomplish a true work-style reform, improve productivity, and help companies improve earnings. The concept that corporate executives should promote this in a top-down fashion has already been proposed by Dr. Masao Mukaidono, chairman of the Institute of Global Safety Promotion (IGSAP), as a future safety concept in an article published in NECA’s seiden.5)
As a matter of fact, there is a global project for such initiatives. It is Vision Zero, which is promoted by the International Social Security Association (ISSA) under the auspices of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The project’s website (http://visionzero.global/) is shown in Figure 7. The website is available in six languages, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Japanese.
Vision Zero, in a nutshell, is a global campaign to encourage companies and organizations to set a higher goal for efforts to achieve occupational safety (zero accidents), that is, to realize the safety, health, and wellbeing of people, and to pursue this goal in a top-down fashion. More than 4,000 companies, organizations, and individuals worldwide are involved in the project as supporters as of August 2019. The number of participants has tripled during the past year, and continues to increase.
Figure 7 The Vision Zero website operated by ISSA
Figure 8 Vision Zero’s Seven Golden Rules advocated by ISSA
The website lists “7 Golden Rules” as guidelines for managers and supervisors regarding zero accidents and occupational health, with a 20-page checklist with 110 questions. Details are spared here because they are available on the website and related documents. There is also a beta smartphone app, “7 Golden Rules,” available in English and Spanish. It lets users check their companies’ and their own knowledge and readiness regarding safety. The seven golden rules are shown in Figure 8. While these rules may appear commonsensical, it is important that senior managers commit themselves to these goals in unison with employees.
People who support Vision Zero are featured on the website, which shows that government leaders, senior officials of safety organizations, and chief safety officers of many progressive companies in the world, are actively promoting the project. NECA is also listed as a supporter NECA, anticipating such global trends, invited a Dutch expert who is a primary advocate of Vision Zero for an international symposium held in 2018. This was the first time that an international symposium featuring “Vision Zero” and Safety2.0” was held in Japan. Figure 9 (b) is a photo of the event.2), 3)
Safety2.0 International Safety Symposium 2017
“How to achieve safety in the era of the fourth industrial revolution” (June 2017 at Belle Salle Kanda Event Hall)
NECA International Symposium 2018
“A new wave of safety in the world: Strategic cooperation between Europe and Japan concerning the promotion of collaborative safety, Safety2.0 and Vision Zero” held at Aoyama Gakuin University and Osaka University.
Figure 9 International safety symposiums regarding Safety2.0 and Vision Zero
The above seven golden rules place the highest importance on the commitment of corporate senior executives. Rules six and seven call for an improvement of employee qualifications and investments in human resources as important requirements. NECA, in order to establish safety measures, instituted the Safety Assessor Qualification System in 2004, as part of METI’s Standards and Conformity Assessment Project. Currently, NECA also offers the Robot Safety Assessor Qualification System in cooperation with IGSAP. As shown in Figure 10, NECA has certified some 18,000 people in Japan and overseas. About 10% of the certification holders reside overseas, indicating that this is a successful example of NECA’s safety initiatives in overseas countries sponsored by the METI’s ODA program.
Figure 10 Changes in the number of people who have been certified by the Safety Assessor Qualification System, established as part of METI’s Standards and Conformity Assessment Project
In Japan, as a measure of the skills and knowledge required for machinery safety, “JIS B 9971 Personnel Competence for Machinery Safety” was established in May 2019 to lay the groundwork for the above efforts. On a global scale, NECA signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the exchange program concerning personnel certification with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), with the help of METI. Based on the MOU, the two organizations began to discuss a certification system called, Certification of Personnel Competence (CoPC), in 2017 as part of IEC’s System for Conformity Testing to Standards for Safety of Electrical Equipment (IECEE). The goal is to create international personnel certification standards. Following taskforce discussions, the effectiveness of, and the necessity for, the personnel certification system for IEC was recognized. Consequently, the system was upgraded to “IEC CMC WG34” in June 2019, and has been in operation under this designation since then.
In light of the technological evolution described above, and the necessity for managers to be well versed in safety issues, Japan suggested the importance of fostering human resources as one of the requirements for the development of new safety mechanisms at the 2018 SIAS international conference in France. Japan’s suggestions include the establishment of a collaborative assessor certification system and a safety officer certification system which are shown in Figure 11.9)
Figure 11 The safety personnel certification systems that created in Japan and a proposal to make them international standards (draft)
In addition to ISO9001 and ISO14001, which are conventional certification standards, ISO 45001 (an occupational health and safety management standard) was instituted in March 2018. Thus, the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle began to be used in the field of corporate occupational health and safety. As a result, the commitment on the part of senior management has become increasingly important. It has also become essential that employees be certified. It is expected that there will be a greater need for safety assessors and the other above-mentioned certification holders going forward.
Figure 12 A new holistic approach to technology, human resources and management to realize safety in a new era
Meanwhile, in the area of international standardization, the necessity for a new approach is starting to be recognized. Under the old approach, technology, human resources, and management, were pursued separately. However, the new approach handles the three in a holistic manner. Fortunately, the issue was taken up by the Market Strategy Board (MSB) of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The commission has voted to issue a whitepaper entitled “Safety in the Future” at an IEC general meeting to be held in Stockholm in October 2020. Figure 12 shows the items that are being considered for inclusion in the whitepaper. In addition, the IEC/Advisory Committee on Safety (ACOS) held a workshop and a general conference in Japan for the first time in 2017. There, collaborative safety, Safety2.0, was introduced as a new safety trend. In June 2018, Japan proposed at the ACOS Delft conference the creation of IEC guidelines on collaborative safety that would become the basis for the development of new standards. The proposal was approved, and the development of new standards got underway.10)
As seen above, efforts are being made to create international standards that span various fields related to collaborative safety as Japan lobbies MSB, ACOS, IECEE, and other IEC upper-level committees in a multifaceted fashion. This information will be updated as the opportunity arises.
As shown in Figure 1, there will be various events where NECA can play an active role. The following are examples of the events: in November 2019, the first Vision Zero summit will be held in Finland in response to this new safety trend, as shown in Figure 13.11) The event will be sponsored by ILO and ISSA. There, NECA will make two presentations regarding the results of its attempt to create safety mechanisms. (Dr. Toshihiro Fujita, chairman of the Control Safety Committee, and Saori Taketa, vice chairman, will make these presentations.) At the same time, 5-ZERO ASSESSMENT, which is being pursued in Europe, will be unveiled. Therefore, NECA plans to engage in active exchanges of views. Meanwhile, the World Robot Summit (WRS2020) will be held in Aichi Prefecture in October 2020 by METI and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). It is expected that the event will be an opportunity to demonstrate the arrival of the robotic revolution. NECA also plans to co-sponsor the event since the industry has a number of NECA safety certification holders in the area of new safety mechanisms, and the industry expects NECA to make further contributions in this field.
In addition, NECA has succeeded in its bid to host the SIAS 2020 international conference in Japan to coincide with the above event. NECA is currently creating a program that reflects the new safety trend discussed earlier.
Figure 13 Vision Zero Summit, Helsinki, Finland (November 12-14, 2019)
As mentioned at the beginning, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is triggering changes in various fields. NECA, for its part, plans to actively involve itself in the process. NECA, which has been leading the world, especially in the development of new safety mechanisms, will continue to play a central role in this endeavor.
In particular, it has become important for Japan to reach out to the rest of the world with a clear message to inform it of the ongoing shift from the old approach to a new approach. For this reason, holistic measures are required from a broader vantage point that goes beyond the activities of the Control Safety Committee. It is hoped that many NECA member companies will come onboard and help create a global movement that cuts across all industrial sectors.