[Press & Publications] Learn to Save Lives [Health and Safety]

September 2000

No 176

New Health and Safety programme to be launched at University of Leicester

Organisations that fail to learn from their, or others’, mistakes are costing lives, health and safety experts at the University of Leicester claim.

They say many air and sea disasters, for example, could have been avoided if organisations had learnt from ‘near-miss’ episodes which, because they went unheeded, may have led to unnecessary fatalities.

Now the Scarman Centre at the University of Leicester has launched a new programme to equip organisations with managers who can adopt proactive approaches to health and safety and also learn effectively from accidents, incidents and near-miss events.

Dr Luise Vassie, Lecturer in Health and Safety Management, said: “Statistics produced by the Health and Safety Executive indicate that, on average, there are approximately 200 fatalities, 28,000 serious injuries and 130,000 over 3-day injuries at work each year, which provide a large number of learning opportunities. Effective learning from these can potentially save lives and reduce pain and suffering.”

“An organisation’s awareness of safety contributes to its safety behaviour and safety performance. Safety awareness is enhanced by both education/training and experience of accidents, incidents and near-miss events. However, it is vital that organisations and the individuals in them capture and apply the information proactively from both these learning opportunities. Failure to do so can cost lives.”

The Scarman Centre at the University of Leicester, with its international reputation in the area of public safety, is launching a postgraduate programme in health and safety management, by distance learning in March 2001. The University of Leicester is one of the UK’s biggest providers of postgraduate education.

Dr Colin Fuller and Dr Luise Vassie, who have several years’ experience in the design and delivery of postgraduate and professional training programmes in heath and safety management, have developed this innovative programme. They also work extensively with industrial organisations developing good practice from theory.

Dr Fuller said: “Education and training play a key role in ensuring that employees are equipped with the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to perform safely. It is important that the education and training needs of the whole organisation are addressed since the actions of all members of the organisation, including senior managers, can influence safety critical decisions.”

“Whilst accidents, incidents and near-miss events provide opportunities to learn, evidence suggests that organisations often fail to learn from these opportunities before a major accident occurs.”


Contact: Dr Luise Vassie, Scarman Centre, 154 Upper New Walk, Leicester LE1 7QA. Tel: 0116 252 5784; Fax: 0116 252 3944; E-mail lhv1@le.ac.uk

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 29 September 2000 16:28
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