Abu Dhabi, 7 November 2019: Australia Managing Partner, Michael Tooma, has presented at the Industry 4.0 event at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) 18th General Conference in Abu Dhabi.
In his speech, Mr Tooma – globally recognised for his expertise in workplace safety – highlighted the urgent need to update the existing workplace safety regime to reflect the rise in automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
"We've inherited a workplace safety regime designed for human behaviour, but increasingly workplace decisions are being made offshore and via artificial intelligence, heightening the risk of cyber security attacks and other threats," Mr Tooma said.
"In Australia, mines are increasingly automated with remote machinery such as driverless vehicles, and drones are increasingly used in agriculture and elsewhere, yet our safety regime reflects the industrial revolution era concerns.
"In the same way the excesses of the industrial revolution necessitated our current set of laws, there is an urgent need to adopt new laws which are written for a global economy and with a view to managing the risks of non-human error.
"AI does not eliminate the risk of human error, but it may magnify the consequences of errors which are made on a global scale."
"Industrial safety must be regulated at a global level to ensure that the safety of workers is protected in an economy where offshore decision-making is prevalent and where the decisions are not necessarily made by humans."
"There are moves toward a new UN convention on industrial safety, which would make it international law. This would be a significant step-forward for workplace safety globally," he added.
Mr Tooma has previously written 'The case for global regulation of industrial safety.'
The event was well attended with Heads of State, high-level government officials, senior representatives from United Nations and private sector, civil society and academia to develop a partnership approach for achieving Industry 2030.