TÜV SÜD issues study for Lloyd's Register Foundation on ‘How do we ensure the future safety of the complex critical infrastructure on which modern society relies?

20th September 2022

TÜV SÜD issues study for Lloyd's Register Foundation on ‘How do we ensure the future safety of the complex critical infrastructure on which modern society relies?

TÜV SÜD has issued a global study for Lloyd's Register Foundation focusing on ‘How do we ensure the future safety of the complex critical infrastructure on which modern society relies?’.

This report summarises a six-month period of study in 2021 on the subject of safety of critical infrastructure covering the energy sector (conventional and green) and the transport sector (maritime, road and rail). Views were gathered from industry actors involved in the delivery, ownership, operation and maintenance of infrastructure across the UK, Europe and Middle East, Asia and Australasia and, United States of America and Canada.

Researchers consulted over 30 industry actors including policy setters, insurers, owner-operators, designers, manufacturers, constructors, business and technical advisors, testing, inspection and certification bodies and academia.

The report explores how the state of current practice in the management and maintenance of infrastructure has significantly evolved, in particular since the 2nd Industrial Revolution (mass production). In a transition to Industry 3.0 (automation) and more recently Industry 4.0 (hyperconnectivity), a rise in technological change has brought with it new ways of thinking and working. Coupled with the effects of climate change, current practice is evolving beyond asset protection and life safety. Inclusion of recovery is beginning to shape a different way to conceptualise how to provide and maintain assets and how to prioritise investment in infrastructure.

To improve the safety of infrastructure, the report identifies four key areas of development:

  • Talent: Growing and sustaining a pool of talent with first principles thinking (scientists and engineers) coupled with an awareness of multiple trades and an understanding of the interoperability of complex systems (technologists) is an enduring challenge.
  • Data and Information: Being smart with data—codifying what data is of value versus what data is available—will become increasingly important as discrete assets and systems of critical infrastructure become inter-connected and inter-dependent.
  • Regulation and Standards: Geographical variations in safety culture and maturity of capabilities to develop, own and operate emerging technologies, means regional variations, rather than global normalisation, of policies, regulation and standards looks to be an inevitability.
  • Consumer Behaviours: A trade-off, between consumer performance expectations, affordability, life safety and societal safety, will begin to bite as the world transitions to a new balance between the built environment and planetary health.

To address these development areas, the report calls on support and raises key questions for actors in the provision and maintenance of infrastructure to rally around, noting that if the 5th Industrial Revolution is characterised by a coming together of industries, social entrepreneurs, and philanthropists, to harness their collective capabilities for a common societal purpose, the probability of ‘moving the dial’ on the safety of infrastructure, is likely to be improved.

Mathew Walker, Strategy & Transformation Director, TÜV SÜD Nuclear Technologies, said:

"This report brings research and practice together; to highlight actions needed to sustain the safety of our critical infrastructure. It would not have been possible without the support of practitioners who brought invaluable evidence and insights from the sharp end of all stages in the lifecycle of infrastructure. Through their participation I have seen a microcosm of a passionate body of individuals and organisations, that want to see change happen in the subject of safety of infrastructure. To scale the ‘will and skill’ beyond individual spheres of influence, we need scientists, engineers, social entrepreneurs, and philanthropists to act together, to help accelerate a pressing need to balance our expectations on the service level and sustainability of our infrastructure – including its safety."

If you want to know more, you can download the full report from our resource centre:

Download the full report 

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