PSS calls for sector improvements to data collection

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Published: May 16, 2024

Port Skills and Safety Ltd (PSS) is calling on the UK Ports sector to improve the recording of data around near-misses and incidents, so that the sector can benefit from better data analysis and root cause identification in the future.

PSS has just completed a pilot data project to understand if AI could provide better root cause analysis of port data to gain broader insights into safety risks. The project was successful in understanding the data but found that the quality of data routinely being collected by ports is not enough for in-depth analysis to take place.

PSS is the UK’s professional safety and skills membership organisation for ports and has been collecting statistics on incidents and near misses in UK ports for more than ten years. Working with PSS member Comet; data, including first responder’s reports, investigations, and safety observations, was collected from five ports, and examined to understand where common root causes occurred across the sector.

Just over 33,000 records were uploaded as part of the pilot project; nearly 10,000 incident reports, 1,000 near miss reports and the remaining records were classified as observations. The initial analysis will not come as a great surprise to anyone working in health and safety in ports. Container handling, vehicle operations (not mobile plant) and mechanical systems featured most regularly in the data, although on the positive side, all three had shown improvements in safety between September 2022 and September 2023

However, one of the main findings of the pilot was that in far too many cases, reports of incidents are very brief and only provide a limited amount of useful data.

“PSS has been promoting the recording of incident and near miss data for many years,” explained PSS CEO, Debbie Cavaldoro. “But without the context of how that data can be used, it is difficult to fully understand what data should be recorded.

“If more detailed records are kept, including basic notes taken at the time of the incident, then ability of AI to identify root causes for near misses and observations, will allow the port sector to learn lessons much more effectively and address the root causes most likely to be the cause of incidents in the future.”

PSS will be taking this results of this initial project forward by encouraging more ports to take part, and crucially, to retain more of the data that arises from observations, near misses and incidents, so that the true value of computer learning, data analysis, and artificial intelligence can be realised.

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