Digitalisation will transform safety in the field
Miroslav Kafedzhiev, vice president, general manager META, Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions
How has digital technology impacted safety in upstream operations?
Take a mine, or hazardous environment, people used to use a canary bird. If there was an issue, workers would see that the canary bird was no longer active and would then know there is gas.
The next step that took over was that process was put on a digital device, a gas sensor, and when there is a certain concentration, it gives you a signal.
Now, with the digital age, Honeywell works to ensure that the information that is detected by the local gas detector on a person is transmitted in real time to an operator station.
The operator station can not only detect that there may be an issue with gas, but it will also be able to detect it much faster and much earlier than usual, before the concentration becomes toxic or dangerous for an employee in that environment.
What are some other capabilities of this technology?
It is not only a gas detector that can give you a single gas, you can have four gases at the same time detected, but also it is going to give you real-time information about an event, about a person, even if the person is not moving.
Even if there is no gas detected but the person is not moving, you may know that there is an accident happening to that person if the detector notices unusual behavior or activity; a technician wouldn’t usually stand still for very long, so it might detect a problem.
Are there any risks that generally go unnoticed?
Noise is one of the most underestimated harmful influences in a worker environment, because it is not only about how noisy it is, but how long you have been exposed to the noise. After a certain point disability can happen very fast.
That is why the next stage of what we are doing in terms of digital transformation is not just giving ear muffs to employees, but also measuring in real time the influence of noise, its frequency, how long the employee was influenced. You basically have a noise picture for a particular employee on a particular day along with actions taken that day.
Is the technology itself enough to ensure safety?
Today, you have to give the employee the digital tools, the information. You and I will never know everything in the world but the digital world can, so the next step is automation and providing real-time information, specific, relevant information for the technician maintenance inspector or worker.
This is where we come with the devices, the software and the workflow management so that when the worker goes in, he knows what this particular engine is going to look like, what the relevant parts are, which instruments he’s going to need and the procedures he has to follow.