Risky industries - the target of new safety masterclass

Offshore safety has improved since the early days of North Sea drilling but tragedies and disasters like last month’s fatal helicopter crash and the Macondo explosion in the Gulf of Mexico are reminders that the energy industry - like other sectors - faces a constant challenge of managing complex operations safely.

How people contribute to the overall safety of an organisation has been the subject of study over the last two decades by Professor Rhona Flin and her team of organisational psychologists at the University of Aberdeen.

Some of that expertise will be on offer next month at a new half-day workshop - taking place at the University - aimed at senior managers in risky industries involved in keeping their organisation safe.

Professor Flin, Director of the University’s Industrial Psychology Research Centre, is speaking at the workshop. She said: "Today fewer people are injured or killed in the workplace thanks to improvements in safety. However incidents like Macondo and the Fukushima nuclear disaster can still happen and, when they do, organisations need to know how to deal with these challenges quickly and effectively. 

"Senior managers have a pivotal role for organisational safety, yet many are given only little guidance on how to exert a positive influence on safety. 

"Our workshop will draw on findings from two areas of research conducted by the University in the energy and aviation sector and it will examine the role of leadership behaviours and skills in safety critical situations."

Dr Laura Fruhen, a University Research Fellow who has studied senior managers’ influence on safety for the last four years, is running the course. She added: "Studies we have conducted indicate that in order to stay sharp on safety issues, managers benefit from an ability to solve safety related problems by investigating them from several angles - using multiple sources of information and addressing cultural, rather than technological changes. 

"Our workshop will implement our research findings  by giving participants an opportunity to explore some of the skills and behaviours we have found to support senior managers’ positive influence on safety and to demonstrate their safety commitment. The half day workshop will include presentations, as well as interactive tasks that will give participants an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and views with other participants.

"It will be ideal for managers, human factors specialists and management trainers,   as well as anyone  interested  to learn more about senior managerial influence on safety.”   

The Senior Managers and Safety Masterclass for Industry course takes place on October 23 between 1.30pm and 4.30pm at the Sir Duncan Rice Library.

To find out more or book a place, ring Wendy Booth on 01224 273210 or email w:booth@abdn.ac.uk.