July/August 2012
The Final Say

Professional responsibility to share know-how

By Greg Hale

Sharing technology with the automation community is important for improving all of industry and the profession. Users are in a particularly unique position to develop solutions since they are closest to real-world problems. Embracing problems and challenges is the catalyst for developing creative solutions, which, in many cases, requires finding and working with new technologies and partners. It is important to keep an open mind to avoid not invented here (NIH) thinking. As solutions are developed, consider sharing them so others can benefit. Some of these developments are large investments, and it is fair to share commercially.

An example of this thinking at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, U.S., Inc. (Disney) has resulted in improved safety in the theme parks and a new industrial safety tool for industry. Safety should always be an organization's number one focus, and it is a fundamental goal at Disney to have a safe environment for employees, cast members, and guests. The safety requirements at Disney are unique in that they include a wide range of applications and conformance requirements, including public and industrial safety. Over many years, Disney has developed and refined procedures and systems for deployment and maintenance of safety levels. This is a major ongoing investment to create knowledge, methods, know-how, and systems.

At Disney, we believe it is our responsibility to share our best practices in order to increase the safety awareness of companies and agencies around the world. Recognizing this experience would be valuable for all of industry. Disney has partnered with ICertainty, Inc., to create safety software based on our experience and knowledge for licensing to companies around the world. The solution is available as a cloud-based application from the National Safety Council with the NSC Navigator. The solution incorporates trusted National Safety Council (NSC) content and is a secure web solution that simplifies management of safety systems and improvement processes. The NSC was founded in 1913 and chartered by the U.S. Congress as a nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education, and advocacy.

The Auditing and Compliance Suite (ACS) is software that combines Disney's technical expertise with an innovative technology platform to provide companies with tools to track, assess, and comply with each organization's unique safety policies and procedures. ACS enables safety managers and staff to quickly capture critical safety documents and data using simple computer desktop tools. The technology also provides workflow tools to increase the efficiency of that company's safety compliance process. The web-based software is designed for use in a number of workplace environments including employee, transportation, food, facility, and maintenance safety.

The goal is to help employers quickly deploy time-saving safety solutions that can save lives and reduce injuries. Tools like this allow organizations to measure safety performance and improvement in real-time and fix issues before they become dangerous or costly problems. Based on trusted NSC content and powered by patented technology, this effective cloud computing tool is more secure, accurate, and efficient at providing up-to-the-minute information not previously available.

Sharing experiences and know-how helps all of us provide better solutions for the industry and improves results from the automation community. As a keynote speaker at ISA Automation Week, I look forward to networking with other automation professionals to learn and share knowledge.


Greg Hale is chief safety officer and vice president, Worldwide Standards and Auditing, with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. He leads a global team of ride design, operations, and maintenance professionals that keep Disney on the leading edge of theme park safety, accessibility for guests with disabilities, and technology advancements.