Midas’ Challenge: Using technology in even smarter ways to improve safety

“As a Safety and Security Consultant, I have several roles. For example, take the project I am currently involved in, the strengthening of the Houtribdijk. Rijkswaterstaat (the client) built this dam in the early seventies between the IJsselmeer and the Markermeer with a connecting road between Enkhuizen and Lelystad. The embankment no longer meets the standards of the Water Legislation and needs reconstruction on both sides. During the project, the Houtribdijk will stay open for traffic and recreation. I am the liaison between the client and the contractor in the areas of labour safety, traffic safety and nautical safety. The goal is to realise the most safe environment before, during and after the construction phase for the workers and the users of the dam.”


“Within my field of expertise, a lot of different specialisations and technologies come together but I am trained as a generalist. With my interdisciplinary background, I bring the specialists and technicians together to solve complex safety issues. On projects, it is my duty to guide the thin line between everybody’s freedom to act and everybody’s personal safety. This goes way beyond making people wear their mandatory safety helmets or reducing the speed limit for traffic; this is about human behaviour and communication. But I will never take the moral high ground because it’s very important to not become the person of which colleagues think ‘oh, it’s him again’. Therefore, I spend a lot of my time on construction sites to collaborate with the workers on making safety something tangible. The rest of my time, I’m working with specialists to develop new safety products or I’m implementing safety policies at a management level. This variation makes my work very interesting. I see it as a great challenge to integrate safety in the DNA of the project, because at the end of the day we all want to come home safely.”

“I see it as a great challenge to integrate safety in the DNA of the project, because at the end of the day we all want to come home safely.”

A Remarkable Company

After studying Safety and Security Management, Midas could immediately start working as a consultant for NedMobiel in a team of four safety experts. Midas: “It shows what a remarkable company NedMobiel is. We are involved in complex and high profile infrastructural projects. The safety culture at construction sites is a very important theme for us and especially for our clients. More often than not, I have noticed that safety from the contractor’s viewpoint is considered a burden, which leads to a gap between safety policy and everyday practice. That’s why NedMobiel targets safety as a culture in everything we do.”

Making Safety Smarter by the Day

More than a year ago, NedMobiel joined ICT Group. “That created opportunities to give my field of expertise a huge boost. At ICT Group, there is a lot of knowledge to make all sorts of processes much smarter. Predictive Analysis is a tool with which physical safety can be increased, but it can also advance social safety at large gatherings. Take tunnel control, everyone has come across it at some point. There is no traffic jam, yet the signs restrict traffic speed in the tunnel to 70 or 50 km per hour. This measure is based on the principle that a traffic jam in a tunnel increases the risk of incidents which needs to be avoided at all times. With smart software, the number of traffic movements in the tunnel is analysed. When it becomes more crowded in the tunnel, the control system automatically kicks in to keep the traffic flow smooth. The same Predictive Analysis tools can be developed in cities and at events, the camera’s are already everywhere so why not use them intelligently? If we can teach smart software to understand and predict human behaviour, we can increase social safety. For example, the vision system records a disruption in a continuous flow of people at a festival; this could very well indicate an emergency. The vision software automatically alarms and instructs the police or the festival crew. As a safety expert, I am convinced that in the near future we will apply more smart technology to do dangerous work. Smart technology can take over a lot of inspection and detection work, allowing us to improve both physical and social safety. I can’t wait to see what drones will add to my field of expertise.”

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