April 19, 2022
In collaboration with the Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has revised the Guidelines on Safe Drone Usage in the Field of Plant Safety.. The objectives of the revision is to improve the safety and promote the use of drones, and to respond to amendments to the Civil Aeronautics Act. This is expected to further promote the use of drones in the field of plant safety.
- In March 2019, METI compiled the Guidelines for Approaches to Safe Operation of Drones at Plants (hereinafter the "Drone Guidelines") and the Collection of Use Case Examples, the latter of which presents case examples from leading companies inside and outside Japan. These documents were produced in cooperation with the FDMA and the MHLW. The aim was to promote safe usage of drones in the field of plant safety.
- Furthermore, in 2020, METI reviewed hazardous areas based on the Guidelines for Meticulous Approaches to Setting Hazardous Areas in Plants (hereinafter the "Explosion-proof Guidelines"), which compiles meticulous approaches for plant operators to set hazardous areas within their workplaces under the latest international standards. After their review, risks and countermeasures and the competence of the drone operators were assessed at workplaces in accordance with the Drone Guidelines. Then, flight plans were created accordingly, and demonstration tests were conducted based on them. Results from those were reflected in and used to revise the Collection of Use Case Examples.
2. Details on present revisions to the guidelines
The following three revisions were made in this round:
- Based on the results of the demonstration tests conducted in 2020, arranged necessary measures to ensure safety during flights in close range of facilities.
- Elaborated on specific risk assessment examples.
- Added responses to systemic changes from the June 2020 amendments to the Civil Aeronautics Act and September 2021 amendments to the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Civil Aeronautics Act.
This revision to the guidelines is expected to further promote the use of drones in the field of plant safety.
Scenes from the demonstration tests
Credit: Left: JSR Corporation; Right: Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.
3. Related materials
For the latest version of the guidelines, see this URL (in Japanese).