Frontline staff watch over an asset equipped with wearable devices

Extending the boundaries of safety

Technology and digital solutions are safely powering our progress towards Goal Zero. We are using the industrial internet-of-things, robotics, digital realities, and artificial intelligence to transform safety in our assets and projects. They make our operations safer by enhancing our staff’s ability to prevent failure and stay out of harm’s way.

By Amir Gerges, Vice President for Safety on Dec 8, 2021

Our Goal Zero ambition to achieve no harm and no leaks across all our operations remains our utmost priority. And we keep challenging our ways of working to progress further towards this goal.

Digital technologies help us learn better and empower the frontline with that knowledge while on the job.

Watch this video for an immersive experience of what the future of safety looks like in practice and hear from frontline colleagues how some solutions are transforming their ways of working!

Safety data can save lives

There’s that ‘split second’ just before incidents occur, when all the information, prior trainings, conscious and unconscious decisions that led to that moment, can make the difference. That split second when an incident can be prevented or at least its impact, minimised

Data shows that it's the lapses in human performance that result in incidents, rather than design flaws. Research indicates that humans cannot connect, assess and comprehend all these root causes and risks in that millisecond.

The industry has worked relentlessly to improve safety performance by institutionalising management systems, work processes, and enhancing people’s competences. But we still need to make a step change to further eliminate harm and prevent failures.

“We believe digitalisation will bring step changes in our safety performance. Our transformational and expandable platforms have the potential to be gamechangers: Frontline staff can learn better; operator surveillance is improved.

Moreover, we can better spot weak signals and, with AI solutions, warn colleagues in real time on the frontline of unsafe conditions. I am excited by what is yet to come for a future, safer work ecosystems across the energy sector.”

De La Rey Venter, Executive Vice President LNG West

We are using the industrial internet of things, robotics, digital realities and artificial intelligence to transform safety in assets.

We are using sensors, robots, drones and personal devices to navigate through assets’ virtual 3D representations. We are bringing expert collaboration to our front-line workers, so they can intervene in a timely way to run safer operations. Using cloud computing, we draw actionable insights from machine-visioning systems connected to remote monitoring sensors, so that hundreds of otherwise stranded terabytes of data are automatically included in decision making.

With digital, we compress years of learning into hours to deliver real-life experiences. In a virtual or mixed reality environment, operators feel, learn and test the consequences of their decisions, either right or wrong. They re-engineer responses as they collectively learn from the past, with no impact on our assets.

When our operators are in the field, simple digital devices like smart badges and gas monitors can gather geotargeted information to alert of any potential threats. Disjointed, ad-hoc barriers are replaced by a real-time safety net, an ecosystem that works as their guardian angel.

With digital, we compress years of learning into hours to deliver real-life experiences.

Staff have an augmented digital consciousness, beyond their natural senses – it’s like we’ve taken off a blindfold. We pair it with predictive maintenance analytics already being deployed at Shell to look into the future as we optimise activities to minimise safety exposure. As we improve our performance in Safety & Environment, we continue to unlock value and increase resilience in a changing business environment.

There’s that split second. Now, it’s almost as if you could slow down time. You make every millisecond count for 5 times the experience, 10 times the surveillance and 1,000 times the data and analytics processed. Your ability to manage the most challenging conditions is augmented. You are analysing actionable insights in real time. You are anticipating the future. You are closing the gap to potential on safety performance.

There’s that split second before an incident occurs. Now, it’s almost as if you could slow down time.

Mobile and wearable devices, such as tablets and helmets are the link in the end-to-end data flow. With them, we bring the relevant data to the decision maker right on time, when they need it most. Today, over 9000 frontline workers use mobile devices across our operations.

At Shell, sites are increasingly developing tailored ecosystems of digital solutions that integrate technology and data. And as we significantly improve process safety, the positive effects on asset reliability, productivity and cost reduction become more evident. Increasing collaboration with others in industry remains essential to accelerating this journey and helping us meet our climate target.


Amir Gerges is Vice President for Safety in Shell. He oversees the safety improvement journey for assets, projects and functions Group-wide.

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