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The ABC of risk reduction

02 April 2015

By changing attitudes, behaviour and culture, training can allow you to make the right changes where you are, writes Jill DeNardo, head of Training at the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL).

It may not be possible to eliminate risk in the work environment but, with relevant training and the adoption of an organisation-wide safety culture, it can be significantly mitigated.

In today’s organisations dealing with complex technologies and significant potential risks there is the necessity of understanding the human dimension to operations and contribution to accidents. 

Appropriate training can provide the skills needed to identify and make the necessary cultural and behavioural changes which enable an organisation to effectively control risk in the workplace.  

Training from HSL ensures that you learn from world-class experts in your particular field. If needed, additional value can be obtained by engaging them to provide further (consultancy) support to implement a combination of tools and techniques perfectly tailored to the needs of your organisation.


Safety culture

Safety culture underpinned the construction of the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Games; sustaining zero fatalities, this was the safest Games in history. 
HSL’s ‘human factors’ experts contributed to this commendable achievement and, by applying their knowledge and expertise you can ensure the development of a positive safety culture and safer behaviours within your own organisation. 
"All well and good,” a senior manager might say, "but surely we’re talking about attitudes and behaviours that are complex and difficult to pin down? I understand that ‘what gets measured gets changed’ – but is it even possible to measure safety culture?” 
The answer is yes. HSL provides the Safety Climate Tool to do just that - along with the advice, support and training you need to address key areas of behavioural and cultural change.


Obtaining the right training and tools is essential to providing health and safety managers the skills they need to make a difference within their organisation. 
Demand for Behavioural Change training, part of HSL’s wider Safety Culture improvement support, is increasing significantly and has been described by a delegate of March 2015’s ‘Behaviour Change’ session as: 
"One of the best courses that I have attended, which has provided me (with) invaluable info for implementing in the workplace.”

Ensuring staff engagement requires leadership and this is why HSL now offers ‘Mindful’ Leadership training alongside its ‘Mindfully Safe courses’. Mindfulness can be simply defined as ‘present moment awareness’. This can be awareness of internal factors such as one’s own thoughts or emotions or awareness of the external environment. Mindfulness focuses upon what is happening now, rather than in the past or future, enabling an emerging situation or information to be assessed objectively and providing stability of attention and clarity of mind.

By teaching techniques to improve safety awareness in the workplace, we can help make individuals and organisations safer.


Risk management tools

Wouldn’t it be great to know that you’ve implemented exactly the right approach and tools to allow you to run your organisation safely, keep your workers healthy and ensure that any inspection by the regulator easily satisfies their requirements?


That’s why HSL, the specialist research and training arm of HSE, is also working closely with regulators including the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Office of Rail Regulation. This means you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll receive the insight into what regulators are looking for, as well as an understanding of which solutions are most effective for your business.


It’s all about having a better understanding and management of risk control, highlighting areas of greatest need and consequently driving continuous improvement. To help you achieve this, HSL offer new training for assessing and managing an organisation’s ability to control health and safety risk, and for identifying areas for improvement. This training includes:
  • Helping leaders to inspire confidence and commitment as they guide their teams through periods of change as a positive safety culture is established
  • Making full use of an employee’s potential and actively involving them to develop shared values and a culture of trust, openness and empowerment
  • Implementing appropriate health and safety policy which challenges the organisation to achieve business performance comparable with that of the best-performing organisations.
The key principles of HSL’s risk management training are drawn from an established risk management maturity model which HSL has successfully used with international organisations and SMEs as part of their training.