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Increased focus on cybersecurity puts human safety at risk

Report states there is a lack of focus on risks associated with human-machine interactions.

Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) have launched a new report, collated by the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), that states there is a lack of focus world-wide on the possible risks associated with human-machine interactions. It highlights the need for an integrated approach when it comes to the safe and secure adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies within the manufacturing sector.

Panel Discussion on Safety, Security and Cyber Considerations in Industrial AutomationLloyd’s Register Foundation is funding the report and a series of working groups that will steer the development of safe and secure adoption of 4IR technologies in collaboration with the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) which took place in Yekaterinburg, Russia on 9-11th July.

In the context of 4IR, safety refers to the prevention of machines, production facilities and products from posing a potential hazard to people and the environment, i.e. physical safety, while security refers to the protection of informational technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) systems from misuse and unauthorised access, i.e. cyber security. With 4IR the traditional boundaries between safety and security are blurred to the point that failures in security can directly affect the safety of manufacturing operations and vice versa.

The report, named ‘OK Computer? Safety and Security Dimensions of Industry 4.0’, reveals that current international efforts to tackle the challenges posed by 4IR technologies are focused on cyber security, with less attention being given to the safety dimension. The report states one of the main reasons for the imbalance is due to the lack of information and uncertainty surrounding the possible impacts of new human-machine interactions and the potential physical and psychosocial hazards for workers and users of new technology.

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) conducted an extensive review of studies and policy documents produced by innovation agencies and initiatives around the world. The review found that the majority of these initiatives focus entirely on the cyber security aspect, with a smaller number focusing on physical safety, and an even smaller proportion considering both safety and security.

David Leal-Ayala, Senior Policy Analyst at Policy Links, at IfM Education & Consultancy Services for the University of Cambridge said: “4IR is leading to an increase in new forms of work organisation which involve more intensive interactions between humans and machines. However, knowledge gaps around the safety and security dimensions of these changes are prevalent amongst manufacturers. This sector review comes at a crucial time. If we wish to achieve the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its technologies, all frameworks, regulations, standards and skills must be in place to support its uptake.”

The new report suggests that in order to ensure that the full potential of the new industrial paradigm is reached, those within the industry must proactively engage, understand and manage emerging safety and security requirements. Based on an extensive review of international evidence of how industries are tackling safety and security risks, the report reveals that industry leaders are focusing on six areas of priority action: development of new frameworks, regulations and standards; awareness-raising and information sharing; skills development; anticipation of risks and needs; research and development; and funding of co-innovation efforts.

The key finding from the evidence review is that these six priority areas are interrelated, highlighting the need for collaboration between stakeholders across the value chain, to mitigate security and safety risks. According to the report, future collaborations should focus on building a global knowledge database on 4IR safety and security, developing a vision of the future, creating interest groups for knowledge-sharing and the adoption of best practice, establishing industrial safety and security guidelines to inform new sector standards and developing a 4IR-ready workforce able to integrate safety and security skill requirements.

Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) said: “The potential of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies is a game changer for the manufacturing sector, and in order to reach this potential, it is essential that we develop the right skills to master the implementation of these technologies. This means we also need to understand the associated risks and security challenges along the way. Our partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation is built on the need to develop our knowledge of these challenges through a multi-stakeholder approach, which we hope will continue to encourage innovative technology that is changing the world as we know it.”

The partnership between GMIS and Lloyd's Register Foundation will explore the changing nature of safety and security in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to ensure industry preparedness. The scoping report is the first phase and will now form the basis for the creation of a working group comprising experts from a variety of sectors with the aim of creating a series of pilot phases in the next six months.

The report is the result of a partnership between the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Energy and Industry of the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, an independent global charity that helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research. The partnership was formed to address the current lack of information around the safety and security dimensions of Industry 4.0, and the vast skills gap in the ability to anticipate and mitigate these inherent formed risks.

The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit took place from 9 to 11 July 2019 in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg and focussed on the impact of the 4IR on global economies, and the role of manufacturing in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Safety and security are of crucial importance to ensuring this impact is, and remains, positive both now and in the future.


Download 'OK Computer? Safety and Security Dimensions of Industry 4.0'

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