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Marine industry urged to make positive business case for safety technologies

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The marine industry has been urged to make a positive business case for the use of safety technologies to release vital funds for investment.

Speaking at a Financial Times webinar on the Future of Industrial Safety, Dr Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director of Safetytech Accelerator, said that too often the most significant barrier to the adoption of safety technologies remains funds for investment.

“We hear too often that safety does not have the budget to innovate, but there are plenty of low hanging fruit that can provide a safety benefit with an easily achievable ROI.”

He went on to use the example of an ongoing Safety Accelerator pilot to prove his point: “We have been involved in a pilot using a sensor to monitor for fire which can alert 25 – 30 mins. ahead of statutory sensors onboard ships. This is a simple use of technology that could save money, lives, cargo and the ship itself.”

He continued: “Cargo fire used to be an insurance issue, but now it is becoming a pollution, or an investors matter. If you have a reputation for losing cargo at sea it may be harder or more expensive for you to raise funding from investors.”

Dr Pilu says that workers and other stakeholders will also play a vital role in technology uptake. “I believe we are likely to see a tipping point for the roll out of certain technologies that will improve safety at work. A good example would be simple fatigue monitoring for safety critical jobs. We may soon get to a point where after a fatigue-related accident employers may be faced with the question: why didn’t you invest in this?”

However, an ongoing issue that stands in the way of technologies being rolled out is the skills issue. “The marine sector is caught between the buyers of technology who have great industry knowledge, but little technological know-how, and the technology providers who have the solutions, often pioneered in other sectors, but not the in-depth knowledge of the industry. The only way past this impasse is close collaboration.”

Moderated by Harry Dempsey, Industry Reporter at The Financial Times, the panellists were James Pomeroy, Director Global Health and Safety at ARUP, Pradeep Chawla, Managing Director, Group QHSE and Training at Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, Emily Whitcomb, Director, Work to Zero, National Safety Council, Dr Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director at Safetytech Accelerator.

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