Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE

 
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
Annual Science Review 2020
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

Contents

03     Foreword                  Case studies

                                      Keeping pace with change               Sharing our success                              Managing risk well

04     Making workplaces
       healthier for all
                                 24   Innovation in battery
                                      technology – safely enabling
                                      the Industrial Strategy
                                                                       29

                                                                       30
                                                                             Collaborating with Dstl to protect
                                                                             people from major hazards
                                                                             Providing asbestos proficiency
                                                                                                                         40   Effective containment systems
                                                                                                                              and safe plume dispersion from
                                                                                                                              laboratories

05     The HSE ‘Science Hubs’
       event
                                 25   Enabling the safe introduction
                                      of hydrogen as a low-carbon
                                      energy vector
                                                                       31
                                                                             testing schemes
                                                                             Videos for the World Health Organisation
                                                                             to protect workers in laboratories
                                                                                                                         41

                                                                                                                         42
                                                                                                                              Health and Safety Excellence:
                                                                                                                              leadership training programme
                                                                                                                              Development of a high-pressure

06     The HSE science and
       evidence cycle
       in action:                26
                                      Supporting small employers
                                      Advancing human
                                                                       32
                                                                             handling biological agents
                                                                             Specialist support for the regulation of
                                                                             major hazards and sharing lessons
                                                                                                                         43
                                                                                                                         44
                                                                                                                              pipeline release model
                                                                                                                              Improving tower crane safety
                                                                                                                              Assessing toxic risk from potential
       Reducing work-                 biomonitoring to provide               learned through training courses                 warehouse fires
       associated                     evidence for chemicals           33    Protecting the environment: updating
       musculoskeletal                policy making                          the UK protocol for pesticide boom               Tackling ill health
       disorders                 27   Reducing the risk of silicosis         spraying drift-reduction technology         45   A new online workplace-friendly
                                      associated with processing       34    Protecting British troops from biological        risk assessment tool to reduce the

07     Events and
       achievements              28
                                      artificial and natural stones
                                      Improving HSE’s evidence
                                      base on occupational
                                                                             warfare agents

                                                                             Acting together                             46
                                                                                                                              risk of musculoskeletal injury from
                                                                                                                              pushing and pulling operations
                                                                                                                              Insights into workplace challenges

15     Meet the staff                 exposure to wood dusts           35

                                                                       36
                                                                             High-quality health and safety statistics
                                                                             to inform decision making
                                                                             Dispersion modelling of hydrocarbon         47
                                                                                                                              to reducing work-related
                                                                                                                              musculoskeletal disorders
                                                                                                                              Improving occupational hygiene

23     Case studies
       (see right)                                                     37
                                                                             released from an offshore well blowout
                                                                             Investigation of fatal explosion at
                                                                             Celsa Steelworks                            48
                                                                                                                              control standards in the waste and
                                                                                                                              recycling industry
                                                                                                                              Estimating the scale of occupational

49     References and
       publications
                                                                       38

                                                                       39
                                                                             Incident investigation following the
                                                                             death of a child in a disability lift
                                                                             Discovering safety: Development of
                                                                                                                              asthma in seafood processing

                                                                             tools to support risk improvement
                                                                             decisions at the design stages of
                                                                             construction projects

                                                                        02
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

Foreword

                                 I HOPE YOU FIND this year’s science          My colleague Professor David             This year we have also started to
                                 review an interesting read; the              Fishwick picks up on this theme in his   provide a forward look on emerging
                                 mix of case studies helps to                 guest editorial, and the science and     risks for our regulatory colleagues to
                                 illustrate the breadth of problems           evidence cycle in action example of      help them consider if our regulatory
                                 that we are asked to address by              musculoskeletal disorders on page 6      frameworks can be used to provide an
                                 colleagues in HSE, in other parts            provides a really good illustration of   appropriate response where necessary.
                                 of government and by industry.               how our approach helps to develop        The emergence of silicosis risk to workers
                                                                              simple, practical solutions which        who cut artificial stone is one such
                                 I also think that, when taken as             are evidence based and can be            example, which was identified through our
                                 a whole, three interesting points            used to catalyse change within the       international networks, and has resulted
                                 emerge: first, that our scientists,          whole health and safety system.          in some joint work with colleagues in New
                                 engineers and analysts are                                                            Zealand (see the case study on page 27).
                                 exploring how risk accumulates in            It is also important that we are
                                 complex systems and developing               constantly thinking about the future     In summary, I think that this collection of
                                 approaches to mitigate these risks;          and identifying the potential for        stories helps to show how our practical,
                                 second, that these risks often emerge        new risks to be created or for risks     pragmatic and interdisciplinary
                                 in the interfaces found between              that we already understand to            approach to problem solving makes
                                 components within the whole                  emerge in new settings. This review      a real difference, and that by learning
                                 system (eg between the people,               helps to demonstrate how we play         from the past and researching the future
                                 the plant, the processes and the             our part in exploring these issues       world of work, we help to protect those
                                 product); and finally that the most          and shows how we help to ensure          in work, or affected by work, today.
                                 significant element of the system            that new technologies such as
                                 are the people in it, and the impact         batteries, or new processes such         Professor Andrew Curran
                                 the variation in their physical and          as introducing hydrogen into the         Director of Research, Chief Scientific
                                 mental health status has on the              UK gas network, can be deployed          Adviser and Head of Science
                                 efficient functioning of that system.        in a healthy and safe way.               and Engineering Profession

                                                                         03
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

Making workplaces healthier for all

                                  I AM CHIEF Medical Adviser for HSE               who are appointed to deliver certain        study on page 27). I have been lucky
                                  and for HSENI – the Health and Safety            vital functions under our regulatory        enough to work with the Australian
                                  Executive for Northern Ireland – and I           framework.1 Over the last year or so        research group who identified
                                  also work as a respiratory physician             we have been reaching out to them           an epidemic of silicosis from this
                                  in the NHS. As such, I see the human             and offering training and networking        exposure in their country and helped
                                  tragedy caused by the failure to control         opportunities so that we can learn from     to facilitate some cross-comparison
                                  risks to health in workplaces – be that a        each other. Their intelligence from         of materials with our hygienists and
                                  case of occupational asthma, mental              real workplaces helps ensure that our       measurement scientists. The dialogue
                                  ill health made worse by a poor                  medical approach is grounded by             continues and I hope that by doing
                                  line manager, or a musculoskeletal               what actually happens and this helped       so we can help to prevent such an
                                  problem that prevents a worker playing           us ensure that our health and work          epidemic from occurring in the UK.
Professor David Fishwick giving   outside with their grandchildren. I              strategy took account of their views.
the keynote address at a ‘HS2’    have also seen how HSE’s research                                                            All HSE research findings are published
high-speed railway event          activities have put an increasing                I think that it is increasingly important   as soon as we are able to do this, and
                                  spotlight on health, and how more                to share our approaches and our             this demonstrates both my and Andrew
                                  studies are seeking to link exposure             research outcomes on the global             Curran’s commitment to ensure that
                                  measurements to health outcomes.                 stage in an attempt to learn from           we publish the evidence we generate
                                                                                   other researchers around the                to make workplaces healthier for all.
                                  HSE also maintains a national network            world. A good example is the work
                                  of doctors, appointed doctors and                described in this report on the             Professor David Fishwick
                                  approved medical examiners of divers             artificial stone issue (see the case        HSE Chief Medical Adviser

                                                                              04
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

The HSE ‘Science Hubs’ event

IN OCTOBER 2019, Professor Andrew                policy activities, and members of the
Curran, HSE’s Chief Scientific Adviser,          Chief Scientific Adviser’s office. The
hosted the first joint event for the             Science Hubs are a focus for HSE’s
members of HSE’s Science, Engineering            science and research activities and
and Evidence Assurance Committee                 are led by senior scientists in the areas
(SEEAC) and HSE’s Research                       of focus.3 The aim of the Research
Committee and sub-committees.                    Committee is to ensure that HSE’s
SEEAC is a group of external experts             research priorities and commissioning
who provide independent and                      are aligned to HSE’s needs.
objective assurance to the HSE Board
on the quality and relevance of its              This major event, with over 50
science and engineering strategy and             delegates, provided an opportunity
delivery.2 The Research Committee,               to explore: the overarching
and associated sub-committees for                commissioning and science planning
each of HSE’s six ‘Science Hubs’, are            approach; work underway to update
chaired by Professor Curran, and                 the evaluation approach for the impact
comprise external scientific experts,            of HSE science; the synergies and
HSE senior leaders for regulatory and            interactions across the science hubs;

                                                                                                  Samantha Peace (left) HSE’s Director of Field Operations Division,
                                                                                                  with Kate Jeffrey, Hannah Elhamami and Jo Sproston

                                                                                                  and any current challenges so that we          and depth of science and engineering
                                                                                                  continuously improve our approaches.           carried out within HSE. It provided
                                                                                                  Delegates also considered how the              an opportunity to truly see how HSE
                                                                                                  changing world of work is impacting            works together and, with the help of a
                                                                                                  on our policy and regulatory                   number of external experts, delivers
                                                                                                  approaches. In addition, delegates             impactful outcomes that help reduce
                                                                                                  had the opportunity to meet HSE                death, injury and ill health across
                                                                                                  scientists and hear about their work           Great Britain. The focus on current
                                                                                                  at an informal lunchtime event.                issues, balanced with significant
                                                                                                                                                 effort to mitigating future risks, gives
                                                                                                  HSE Board member and SEEAC Acting              confidence that, this ‘One HSE’
                                                                                                  Chair Ken Robertson said, ‘This was a          approach to science and engineering,
Chris Flint (right), HSE’s Director Energy Division and Ian Indans                                fantastic event covering the breadth           will really make a difference.’

                                                                                             05
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

The HSE science and evidence cycle in action: 4 reducing work-associated musculoskeletal
disorders (MSDs) such as pain and disorders of the back, limbs and neck

We catalyse engagement by                                                                                                         We anticipate new challenges through
others and improve performance                                                                                                    foresight and synthesis of existing evidence

                                                     We catalyse engagement                  We anticipate new
››   Our ergonomists offer training                   by others and improve             challenges through foresight
                                                                                              and synthesis of
                                                                                                                                  ››   HSE’s Foresight Centre identifies potential MSDs
                                                           performance
     courses on manual handling,                                                              existing evidence                        challenges from the changing world of work.14
     upper limb disorders and                                                                                                     ››   Evidence synthesis by HSE ‘s Workplace Health
     display screen equipment5 and                                                                                                     Expert Committee (WHEC) – position paper ‘Work-
     consultancy on reducing MSDs:                                                                                                     associated musculoskeletal pain: the role of HSE’.15
     1660 delegates have been trained                                                                                             ››   Our ergonomists provide policymakers
     on 151 courses over 17 years and                                                                                                  with information on emerging approaches
     they have spoken at hundreds          We protect workers                                                                          to reduce MSDs, eg potential use of
     of industry events, as well as         and safeguard                                                                              wearable sensors and exoskeletons.
                                               the public                                             We provide evidence to
     contributing to developing and                                                                   ensure risks resulting
                                                                                                       from work activities
     delivering the HSE 2018 ‘MSD                                                                    are effectively controlled   We provide evidence to ensure risks from
     Summit’6 – over 130 delegates.                                                                                               work activities are effectively controlled
››   Our statisticians publish working
     days lost due to MSDs7 – used to                               We underpin operational                                       ››   HSE ergonomists and physicians work with
     make the case for improvements.                                 and policy activities                                             European counterparts through the Partnership for
                                                                                                                                       European Research in Occupational Health and
We protect workers and                                                                                                                 Safety (PEROSH) to develop advice and guidance
safeguard the public                                                                                                                   on assessing sedentary behaviours at work.16
                                                                                                                                  ››   HSE physician-led research into sit stand
››   We developed HSE’s MSD ‘Toolkit’-                                                                                                 desks and sedentary behaviours.17
     Assessment of Repetitive Tasks                                                                                               ››   Evidence from our applied ergonomics research
     (ART), Risk Assessment of Pushing                                                                                                 published in reports and peer-reviewed
     and Pulling (RAPP), and Manual           We underpin operational and policy activities                                            papers: over 90 publications in 20 years.18
     Handling Assessment Charts (MAC
     and v-MAC).8 The toolkit is used in      ››   Insight specialists develop qualitative evidence on MSDs
     Great Britain and internationally;            in three sectors to inform policy and interventions.10                                Further information
     Chile has translated it.                 ››   Applied ergonomics research used to inform
››   HSE’s MSD guidance and advice                 interventions, eg manual handling in kerbside                                         See the case studies on pages 45 and 46,
     for industry is informed by                   recycling11 and midwives using birthing pools.12                                      and references 6–18 which include research
     robust scientific evidence.9             ››   HSE scientists and analysts develop evidence                                          related to reducing work-associated MSDs.
                                                   that informed development of HSE’s Work and                                           Meet two HSE ergonomists on page 19.
                                                   Health Strategy: MSDs made a priority.13

                                                                                              06
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
Events and
achievements
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

Events and achievements

Visitors                                                                                   Commenting after his visit, Sir Patrick      Andrew Curran, the Chief Scientific
                                                                                           said, ‘A big thank you from me and the       Adviser, and Clive Fleming, the Head
HSE’s Science and Research Centre in Buxton has hosted                                     team for a terrific visit. You have a very   of Policy Profession. The visit included
a number of important visitors and events in 2019.                                         impressive set-up and an engaged             presentations and discussion on: HSE’s
                                                                                           and engaging team of scientists. Both        use of regulatory intelligence to support
››  In June, Sir Patrick Vallance, the       more about the science, engineering           purpose and expertise shone through.’        better regulation and wider cross-
Government Chief Scientific Adviser,         and evidence that HSE undertakes                                                           government needs; risk assessment
and Professor Tom Rodden, Chief              to support our policy and regulatory          ››   In February, Air Marshall Sir Richard   specialist support to enable the Space
Scientific Adviser for the Department        activities. They met with scientists          Garwood, Chair of the Tri-Branch             Industry Act; work to enable the healthy
for Digital, Culture, Media and              and engineers from around HSE,                Management Board of the three                and safe deployment of advanced
Sport, were accompanied by Martin            including our Chemical Regulations            Accident Investigation Branches of           materials; and a tour of the wider
Temple, Chair of the HSE Board, and          Division, to talk about the approach          the Department for Transport, which          site including discussion on our work
Dr David Snowball, HSE Acting Chief          we take to difficult challenges – both        cover air, marine and rail investigations,   to enable the hydrogen economy.
Executive, on a visit to HSE’s Science       the pragmatic, practical solutions            visited to learn more about HSE’s            Clive Fleming noted afterwards that,
and Research Centre in Buxton. Their         we develop, and the investigations            forensic incident investigation work.        ‘It definitely impressed and helped
visit provided an opportunity to learn       we do into why things go wrong.               He toured the outdoor large-scale            reinforce their understanding of HSE
                                                                                           test facilities, the storage facility for    as an innovation-friendly regulator.’
                                                                                           material and structures retrieved from
                                                                                           incident investigation sites, and indoor     ››  In November, Professor Alan
                                                                                           laboratory facilities. Sir Richard said,     Penn, Chief Scientific Adviser for the
                                                                                           ‘I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and           Ministry of Housing, Communities
                                                                                           was able to get a good feel for the          and Local Government and Chris
                                                                                           capabilities that you have on site. Your     Pook, Deputy Director of the
                                                                                           flexible programme allowed me to             Government Office for Science,
                                                                                           see a great deal and provide some            were welcomed by Professor Curran.
                                                                                           food for thought as to how we could          Their visit included discussion on
                                                                                           become a bit closer as two government        the wide-ranging application
                                                                                           organisations with the shared aim            of HSE scientists’ expertise and
                                                                                           of preventing death and injury.’             experimental capabilities to support
                                                                                                                                        other government departments. The
                                                                                           ››  In September, Chris Carr, the            visit included meeting our experts to
                                                                                           Head of the Better Regulation                hear about our expertise in fires, risk
                                                                                           Executive, which leads the regulatory        assessment, and impact of chemical
                                                                                           reform agenda across government,             exposures on health including
Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Andrew Curran                                           was welcomed to HSE by Professor             protecting incident ‘first responders’.

                                                                                      08
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

Events                                    ››  In January 2019, the Thomas Ashton
                                          Institute20 held a major event21 on
››  The ‘Discovering Safety’              ‘Hazards from Ageing Infrastructure’
programme19 was formally launched         in partnership with the Institute for
in June 2019 at the Lloyds Register       Chemical Engineering, IChemE,
building in London. This ambitious        and the Hazards Forum. The event
programme of research is funded           considered infrastructures such as
by Lloyds Register Foundation and         offshore oil and gas platforms and
delivered in partnership by HSE and       onshore major hazard plants. David
the University of Manchester, through     Glass, an HSE specialist mechanical               HSE’s 100% Hydrogen H21 Test Facility
the Thomas Ashton Institute.20 It         engineering inspector, presented
seeks to deliver health and safety        the importance of leadership in                   be part of the H21 programme, and           ››   A PEROSH Expert Workshop
benefits through a data-driven            managing ageing and asset integrity,              in particular, that we are housing          on work-related stress was hosted
global community. Research is being       particularly in preventing hazards                this new specialist facility here in        by HSE in May 2019.23 PEROSH
undertaken to better understand the       from loss of primary containment,                 Buxton. We are sure this will become        is the Partnership for European
global health and safety landscape        and the campaigns that HSE is                     a key component in providing the            Research in Occupational Health
and its challenges, and how best          using to ensure dutyholders are                   evidence which will enable hydrogen         and Safety; its aim is to strengthen
to access and use data to develop         managing ageing appropriately.                    to become a safe, clean and resilient       research in Europe through a
solutions for maximum benefit.                                                              component of our approach to                partnership of national European
                                          ››  HSE’s ‘100% Hydrogen H21 Test                 achieving zero-emissions by 2050.’          institutes affiliated to government
                                          Facility’22 was opened at HSE’s
                                          Science and Research Centre in July
                                          2019. It is the first ever experimental
                                          test facility for pure hydrogen and is
                                          part of ‘H21’, the world’s largest project
                                          to reduce carbon emissions to meet
                                          climate change targets. It is funded
                                          through Ofgem’s Network Innovation
                                          Competition and led by Northern Gas
                                          Networks. The project results will be
                                          critical in determining if it is safe to
HSE’s ‘Discovering Safety’ team: Hannah   convert millions of homes across the
Elhamami, Michelle Hawkins, Helen         country from natural gas to hydrogen.
Balmforth (Programme Director), Matt      Andrew Curran, HSE’s Chief Scientific
Clay, Steven Naylor and Kate Jeffrey      Adviser, said, ‘We are pleased to                 PEROSH Expert Workshop, hosted by Phoebe Smith (centre right)

                                                                                       09
Annual Science Review 2020 - HSE
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

Harpur Hill Primary School celebrating British Science Week with (left to right) Jackie Morton, Micah Stocks Greaves and Paul Johnson

or social insurance systems.                  ››   British Science Week March                 the visit, said, ‘It was great to take       designed by RSC volunteers and
The workshop was attended by                  2019: Inspiring the next generation             hands-on science into school! The            students from the University of Sheffield
experts from 10 European institutes           of Scientists. HSE marked the week              children asked lots of questions and         and Sheffield Hallam University. In
and hosted by HSE psychologist                with scientists from HSE’s Science and          got fully involved in all the activities!’   October, a formal celebration function
Phoebe Smith. Delegates shared                Research Centre visiting nearby Harpur                                                       was held in Sheffield followed by a
the latest knowledge about,                   Hill Primary School to bring ‘STEM’             ›› 2019 International Year of the            social evening for local chemists
and approaches to reducing,                   (science, technology, engineering and           Periodic Table marked its 150th              with a periodic table made entirely
work-related stress from a multi-             maths) subjects to life. Fun, science-          anniversary and impact on the                of cupcakes. Jackie has organised
disciplinary perspective including            based activities included: polymer              modern world. HSE chemist Jackie             an annual schools’ chemistry quiz for
physicians, psychologists and                 chemistry explained through making              Morton, a member of the Royal                schools in Sheffield since 2013 and
ergonomists, and identified                   slime; chromatography explained                 Society of Chemistry (RSC) Atomic            this year’s prizes included periodic
common research challenges                    through making colourful Mother’s               Spectroscopy Group, helped to                table themed backpacks and card
and needs. HSE policy makers                  Day cards; and how UV light boxes               organise a range of RSC celebration          games. Jackie also chaired a special
Kathryn Fuller and Rob Vondy                  can be used for health and safety               events. In March, a public event in          symposium in November at the RSC’s
attended as observers.                        training. Dr Jackie Morton, biological          Sheffield’s Winter Gardens engaged           London headquarters covering the
                                              monitoring specialist, who arranged             children in experiments and crafts           breadth of atomic spectroscopy.

                                                                                         10
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

››  The ‘HSE Connect 2019’ event        ››  2019 ‘Health & Safety Expo’:                                                          ››  The Chartered Institute of
in February 2019 brought together       colleagues from across HSE                                                                Ergonomics and Human Factors
industry, the regulator, trade unions   represented the organisation at                                                           (CIEHF) held a regional group
and intermediaries to showcase          this event, the largest of its kind in                                                    meeting at HSE’s Science and Research
good health and safety practice.        the UK. Live demonstrations of our                                                        Centre hosted by HSE specialists
The event included workshops by         scientific work were given along with                                                     Andrew Pinder and Matt Birtles.
HSE foresight specialists on new and    insights into our ‘Shared Research’                                                       Additionally, HSE colleagues, including
emerging health and safety issues       programme. Ed Corbett, HSE Technical                                                      specialist inspectors, worked in
associated with digitalisation and      Fellow and chartered occupational                                                         partnership with CIEHF to launch a new
the changing nature of work.            psychologist, gave a keynote speech                                                       ‘Risk Reduction Through Design’ Award
                                        ‘Are we doing the right stuff’24 and                                                      which aims to help employers devise
                                        Jen Webster, human factors specialist,                                                    new and innovative ways to reduce the
                                        gave a presentation on HSE’s research                                                     impact of musculoskeletal disorders.
                                        on extended working lives.
                                                                                                                                  ›› International Women in
                                        ››  Research needs for occupational                                                       Engineering Day, ‘INWED’, in June,
                                        health: Professor Andrew Curran, HSE                                                      which celebrates and raises the
                                        Chief Scientific Adviser, and David                                                       profile of women engineers, was
                                        Fishwick, HSE Chief Medical Adviser,                                                      proudly supported by HSE. Some of
                                        facilitated discussion at an event                                                        our women engineers spoke about
                                        hosted at the House of Lords by                                                           their roles in the organisation on
                                        Lord David Blunkett on research                                                           HSE’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
                                        needs for occupational health
                                        following the publication of an
                                        HSE-funded report by the Society               Cat Makison-Booth and ‘Vomiting Larry’
                                        for Occupational Medicine.25
                                                                                       Cat says, ‘Demonstrating the work
                                        ››  Raising research profile: HSE              we do on documentaries and shows
                                        microbiologist Cat Makison Booth               like QI (which I’ve learnt stands for
                                        and her research tool ‘Vomiting                Quite Interesting) is a free and in this
                                        Larry’, HSE’s humanoid simulated               case fun, albeit slightly scary, way
                                        vomiting system, visited BBC television        to showcase how we help create a
                                        to take part in a ‘Queasy Quacks’              safer world in a practical way that        Aneta Nêmcová celebrates INWED 2019
Andrew Curran speaking                  medically themed episode of the                is accessible to a wider audience
at HSE Connect 2019                     satirical quiz programme ‘QI’.                 than is normally achievable.’

                                                                                  11
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

Awards, honours and achievements                                                            ›› Chris Keen, HSE Technical Team
                                                                                            Lead for Occupational Hygiene
The value of our scientific expertise has been recognised by others                         Practitioners and Chair of the British
through various awards, honours, and other feedback.                                        Occupational Hygiene Society
                                                                                            (BOHS) Breathe Freely in Construction
››  Stuart Hawksworth, Head of HSE’s      quotes 32 Stuart saying, ‘In just the past        Campaign, has been invited to
Centre for Energy and Major Hazards,      two years, the pace at which new                  lead the new BOHS ‘Breathe Freely
and President of the International        hydrogen technologies and hydrogen                Champions Programme’ to help
Association for Hydrogen Safety (IAHS),   fuel applications have emerged is                 younger hygienists to develop their
has been made visiting professor of       indicative of just how important this             ability to present and engage with         Chris Barber at the British Thoracic
hydrogen safety at Ulster University.     fuel source can be for the future,                stakeholders. She has also been newly      Society Summer Meeting
As IAHS president, Stuart opened          including increasing reliance on                  elected to the BOHS Board of Trustees.
the International Conference on           renewable energy sources. Clearly,                                                           Statement. This new document will
Hydrogen Safety in Adelaide, Australia    it is also a fuel with enormous clean                                                        provide updated guidance for primary
in September 2019: the event had          energy export potential as countries                                                         and secondary care, highlighting best
delegates from 22 countries and           all over the world seek to increase                                                          practice for the investigation, diagnosis
included presentations of 6 peer-         renewables in their total energy mix.’                                                       and management of this challenging
reviewed papers involving HSE                                                                                                          condition. Chris can be heard talking
scientists.26–31 Scientific American      ››  Steve Forman has been made a                                                             about occupational respiratory
                                          Fellow of the Faculty of Occupational                                                        disease in a video made at the 2019
                                          Medicine. This is in recognition                                                             British Thoracic Society Education
                                          of his significant contribution to                                                           and Training Summer Meeting.33
                                          occupational medicine which
                                          reflects what Steve has achieved                                                             ›› Chartered Status has been
                                          inside and outside of HSE and                                                                awarded to: James Forder, chartered
                                          his professional standing as                      Chris Keen                                 chemist with the Royal Society of
                                          viewed by his senior peers.                                                                  Chemistry; and Jonathan Hall and Paul
                                                                                            ›› Dr Chris Barber, HSE Principal          McCann, chartered engineers with
                                          ››  Paul Pitts, exposure                          Medical Adviser, NHS consultant            the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
                                          assessment and control specialist,                respiratory physician, and current
                                          has been invited to chair the                     chair of the British Thoracic Society      ›› Emma Shanks, exposure
                                          International Advisory Committee                  Occupational and Environmental Lung        assessment and control specialist,
                                          on hand-arm vibration.                            Disease Specialist Advisory Group, has     has been re-elected to the council of
                                                                                            been invited to chair the development of   the Institute of Acoustics. This will be
Stuart Hawksworth                                                                           a new BTS Occupational Asthma Clinical     Emma’s third consecutive 2-year term.

                                                                                       12
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

                                            ‘Inspirational Committee Award’                ››  Rosie Whitbread, risk specialist,      that they meet the principles that
                                            on behalf of the Royal Society of              was praised for her contribution           represent global best practice. This
                                            Chemistry’s Toxicology committee.              to an expert panel undertaking a           reflects the quality of our training
                                            The committee have created a                   review of energy research activity         courses which are built around current
                                            series of short videos of toxicologists        at the University of Nottingham.           real-world expertise, are delivered
                                            to showcase the variety of careers             Panel Chairman Mike Colechin               by scientists and health and safety
                                            available in toxicology. HSE’s head of         said ‘Your personal contribution           experts and are fully aligned with
                                            computational toxicology, George               to this outcome was brilliant. You         the requirements of the regulator.
                                            Loizou, is one of those profiled – see         brought everything I thought you
                                            ‘We have your poison data’.34                  would to the panel and more.’              ›› Simon Gant, mathematical
                                                                                                                                      modelling specialist, has been
                                            ››  UKAS accreditation has been                ››  HSE Training and Events has            appointed chair of the Atmospheric
                                            awarded to HSE’s Science and                   received a gold accreditation status       Dispersion Modelling Liaison
                                            Research Centre to the new ISO                 award for our HSE-NEBOSH partner           Committee. Members are from
                                            17025:2017 standard for our testing            training course. The award recognises      12 government departments or
                                            and analytical services, and to the            Learning Partners who can prove            agencies, and scientific institutes
Kate Jones receiving her                    ISO 17043 standard for our Proficiency
‘Inspirational Committee Award’             Testing sample production.

›› Kate Jones, biological monitoring        ›› Tim Aldridge, risk specialist,
specialist, has been invited as an          contributed to a Parliamentary briefing
expert member of the International          note from the Parliament Office of
Society of Exposure Science working         Science and Technology (POST)
group on exposure data production.          on ‘Evaluating UK natural hazards:
She also accepted, as chair, an             the national risk assessment’.35

                                            ››  Ian Pengelly’s peer-reviewed
                                            research paper36 on the investigation
                                            of possible coffee industry worker
                                            exposure to diacetyl, a potentially
                                            harmful chemical, was selected as
                                            the ‘Editor’s Choice’ in the Annals
                                            of work Exposures and Health
                                            in recognition of its quality and              The Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling Group chaired by Simon Gant (centre back)
George Loizou: ‘We have your poison data’   importance for occupational health.

                                                                                      13
HSE Annual Science Review 2020

from the UK and Republic of Ireland.                                                        which reviews the institute’s work. The       ››  HSE’s Chief Medical Adviser,
The committee reviews scientific                                                            invitation is particularly to review INRS‘s   Professor David Fishwick, gave a
understanding of atmospheric                                                                research on workplace exposures to            keynote speech at the ‘Celebrating
dispersion and related phenomena                                                            chemicals including fibres, metals,           the Best in Health and Safety by
for applications such as regulation                                                         nanoparticles and aerosols.                   Design’ HS2 high-speed railway
of discharges from industrial plant.                                                                                                      event held to showcase industry best
                                                                                            ››  Brian Crook, microbiologist, has          practice, increase understanding
››  ‘Science, policy and public                                                             achieved the significant milestone            of health and safety by design,
opinion: How the wheels turn’:            Mary Trainor in a video about                     of 100 peer-reviewed scientific               and raise standards for the rail and
science and policy in HSE is the topic    science and policy                                publications, 97 of which were                wider construction industry. Professor
of three videos 37–39 in this series,                                                       published while Brian was at HSE              Fishwick graphically demonstrated
which is produced and released by         and describing it in a way so that it is          or was working on research                    the life-limiting outcomes of exposing
the European Plasticisers Association.    really clear to our policy colleagues             funded by HSE.18                              lungs to dust and told delegates,
HSE Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor   and to make sure that uncertainties                                                             ‘I want designers like you to put
Andrew Curran, and colleagues at          are well explained.’ Mary Trainor,                                                              physicians like me out of a job.’
HSE’s Science and Evidence Centre,        Head of Science Impact and Quality,
share their perspectives on working       Chief Scientific Adviser’s Office                                                               ››  HSE’s Research Ethics Panel,
at the science and policy interface.                                                                                                      which is accredited to the University
The videos are raising awareness          ‘We provide evidence that informs                                                               of Sheffield Medical School Research
internationally of HSE’s approach to      policy. It’s an iterative process, we have                                                      Ethics Panel, received positive
using robust scientific evidence to       a dialogue. I’m very optimistic about                                                           feedback from the latter’s first
inform policy and have, collectively,     the future of science, the fact that it’s                                                       audit. The audit team commented,
been viewed over 25,000 times.            becoming multidisciplinary – all of that                                                        ‘HSE takes its research ethics
                                          has to come together to provide the                                                             responsibility seriously and has
‘We try and start that process in         capability we have now to solve the                                                             invested considerable staff time in
partnership with policy makers;           problems of the future.’ George Loizou,                                                         raising awareness of research ethics
understanding the real question           Head of Computational Toxicology                                                                among the staff and in developing
they want to answer is absolutely                                                                                                         robust ethics review processes.’
critical to helping them address the      ››  Delphine Bard, exposure
issues of concern.’ Professor Andrew      measurement specialist, has been
Curran, Chief Scientific Adviser.         invited by the French national
                                          Research and Safety Institute for
‘Our role is to make sure we              the Prevention of Occupational
are providing robust scientific           Accidents and Diseases, INRS, to join
evidence – explaining, articulating       the panel of international experts                Brian Crook celebrating 100 publications

                                                                                       14
Meet the staff
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                                                           Meet the staff

Aneta Nêmcová / Richard Isherwood
Materials Scientist / Principal Mechanical Engineer

                                       on fatigue of magnesium alloys.
                                       Following an Erasmus training
                                       placement, she then applied her skills
                                       as a post-doctorate researcher at the
                                       University of Manchester, focusing on
                                       surface treatments of light alloys.

                                       Aneta’s move from academia to HSE
                                       in January 2019 enabled her to put her
                                       experience of materials failure modes
                                       into immediate use in a number of
                                       incident investigations. Her work so
                                       far has covered corrosion of process
                                       plant pipelines, fatigue failures in           Richard joined HSE in 2005 at a time         Richard says, ‘I enjoy the variety of
                                       fairground rides and fracture of               of major concerns on tower crane             different engineering disciplines and
                                       heavy-machinery components in a                safety. He led forensic engineering          environments that you experience
                                       fabrication workshop. Aneta is also a          investigation into the Battersea crane       at HSE and the opportunity to work
                                       member of the team working on the              collapse (2006), the Liverpool crane         closely with colleagues of different
                                       optimisation of composite wraps for            collapses (2007 and 2009) and                experiences and disciplines when
ANETA AND RICHARD are members          pipe repairs as part of an HSE/industry        structural damage to the jibs of a           trying to understand the reasons
of the Engineering Materials Team      shared research project, focusing on           particular crane model in 2013/2014,         behind an incident occurring.’
and Mechanical Engineering             how best to inspect wrapped pipes              including the crane collapse onto
Team respectively at HSE’s             using non-destructive methods.                 the Whitehall cabinet building.              New recruit Aneta echoes these
Science and Research Centre.                                                          The findings were summarised in              sentiments: ‘The sense of collaboration
The teams work closely together        Richard graduated from Salford                 several industry safety alerts and           across the different groups is strong,
on incident investigations, using      University with an honours degree              two HSE reports,40, 41 which have            giving the opportunity to learn from
their complementary skills to          in mechanical engineering in 1989              been instrumental in improving               experienced specialists such as
understand the interaction between     and became a chartered engineer                tower crane safety. Richard has also         Richard. I enjoy the opportunity of
material and component in              in 2001. He worked as a design                 worked on investigations involving           applying my scientific knowledge for
complex failure investigations.        draughtsman and spent over 15 years            plant vehicle stability, hydraulic fitting   understanding the causes of failures,
                                       in an engineering research and                 failures, rollercoaster collisions and       helping to avoid these in the future
Aneta completed her MSc in materials   development role, including failure            derailments, replica revolvers for use       and ultimately to improve safety.’
science and engineering at Brno in     investigations, providing technical            on stage, assessment of mobility
the Czech Republic, followed by a      support in the marine propulsion               scooters, aircraft ejector seats and a
PhD on effects of surface conditions   and power generation industries.               number of explosion and fire incidents.

                                                                                 16
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                                                                  Meet the staff

Dan Howard                                                                               Colleen Butler
Chemist                                                                                  Senior Human Factors Specialist

                                         voltages or physical abuse. In                  COLLEEN JOINED HSE in 2008 after
                                         order to gain understanding of                  completing her PhD in human
                                         the failure modes of the batteries              factors research at the University of
                                         under test, Dan has taken a lead                Southampton. As a senior human
                                         role in setting up a mobile mass                factors specialist at HSE’s Science and
                                         spectrometer to enable high-                    Research Centre, Colleen’s work has
                                         resolution analysis of gaseous hazards          primarily involved applying human
                                         produced during battery failure                 factors expertise in the process safety, oil
                                         (see the case study on page 24).                and gas, aviation and energy sectors.
                                                                                         This involves analysis of all aspects of the
                                         Dan has also had the opportunity to             organisational system, including people,
                                         get involved in the design and build            processes, and equipment, to help
                                         of a bespoke experimental test rig              identify where to prioritise interventions
                                         to enable the study of gas forming              for enhanced safe performance.
                                         reactions. In many cases, the gases
                                         formed are toxic and/or flammable,              Colleen’s areas of expertise are in
                                         requiring careful consideration of              human error, organisational learning
                                         how the experiments are carried                 and fatigue risk management.42–44
                                         out safely and preferably without               She has supported a number of
DAN IS A MEMBER of the Hazardous         damaging sensitive instrumentation.             organisations to understand their fatigue
Materials team at HSE’s Science and      Added to this, the fact that the rig has        risk and build and implement fatigue           ‘With the changing nature of work,
Research Centre. Having obtained         to be operable remotely provides a              risk management systems. Colleen               understanding how organisations
his PhD in chemistry at the University   significant additional challenge.               has a strong interest in extracting and        need to constantly adjust to create
of Manchester, Dan joined HSE in                                                         sharing good practice in fatigue risk          safety is core to HSE’s work. I really
July 2018 and has been involved in       In each of the projects he has been             management across industry and has             like the challenge and learning
experimentally focused research          involved in, Dan has engaged directly           recently been exploring opportunities to       opportunities this presents from
programmes involving battery testing     with a range of cross-government                do this in the offshore oil and gas sector.    a human factors perspective. I
and reactive chemical systems.           and industry stakeholders. Dan                                                                 particularly like figuring out how
                                         says, ‘I have particularly enjoyed              Colleen also provides human factors            I can help industry identify and
In the battery testing work, Dan is      working with others to develop                  support to HSE’s regulatory activity.          manage the less visible human
part of a small team investigating the   and deliver test regimes to meet                This has involved assessment of safety         performance related risks like
behaviour of lithium ion cells when      common research goals.’                         reports, revision of HSE guidance              fatigue. It never gets tiring!’
they are subjected to conditions                                                         and the provision of expert witness
outside their normal operating window                                                    statements in incident investigations.
such as excessive temperatures,

                                                                                    17
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                                                            Meet the staff

The Mechanical Engineering Specialist Inspectors Team

THE MECHANICAL Engineering
Specialist Inspectors Team in HSE’s
Field Operations Division has been
one of the traditional ‘heavy industry’
based disciplines, providing technical
support to incident investigations,
with team members using their
previous industrial experience to give
professional advice. However, as the
British economy has evolved and
new technologies and applications
for machinery have developed, the
team has grown and adapted to meet
these changes, recruiting from a wider
industrial and service sector base.

Although machinery may have
changed, the approach taken by the        Left to right: Mike Cooke, Mike Goodwin, Mike Downes, David Rudland, Rob Marr, Paul Grady, Sheldon
team remains the same: consistently       Taylor, Dominic Swan, Mick Raynor, Dave Schofield, Peter Dodd, Ian Simpson, Andrew Crouch
applying core scientific principles to
new applications. The work is always      and work practices to support our               designer, installer or user are meeting    making process by HSE and the specialist
varied, whether that’s inspecting tool-   regulatory inspectors, to try to explain        those benchmark expectations               inspector may be subsequently required
room machinery, mobile construction       why something unsafe has occured                and, if they’re not, what needs to         to give testimony based on that
plant, lifts and escalators, combine      (or could occur) and ascertain what             be done to address the risk gap.           report, in court as an expert witness.
harvesters or providing technical         the benchmark standard is for a given
assistance on fairgrounds, inflatables,   issue or work practice. As professional         Often the site visit is the more           The mechanical engineering specialist
care homes, or even the failure of        engineers, they strive to identify the          straightforward part of the job.           inspector doesn’t just inspect or
a cross bar on a goalpost. Indeed,        root cause of a mechanical failing              Following this, the specialist inspector   investigate incidents. They campaign
it was a mechanical engineering           and prevent a reoccurrence. Where               will compile technical reports,            for better health and safety practice
specialist inspector who provided         necessary, a team member will                   recording everything they have done        by crafting and reviewing internal
technical support in the investigation    lead the technical aspect of the                accurately and impartially – these         guidance, attending industry working
of an incident on a movie set.            investigation, calling in engineering           provide the evidence for what was          groups and committees, delivering
                                          specialists at HSE’s Science and                done, the analysis undertaken and          presentations to professional forums
The team’s role is to provide forensic    Research Centre or other specialists            conclusions reached. Ultimately,           and becoming involved in British
analysis of mechanical equipment          when needed, considering whether the            this report forms part of the decision     and international standards work.

                                                                                     18
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                                                               Meet the staff

Chris Quarrie / Andrew Pinder
Specialist Inspector in Human Factors and Ergonomics / Ergonomist

CHRIS AND ANDREW have worked                                                                                                          Andrew has a PhD in ergonomics
together for many years and are                                                                                                       and joined HSE in 1996, prior to which
based at HSE’s Bootle headquarters                                                                                                    he carried out research on human
and Buxton Centre for Science and                                                                                                     strength. His expertise on manual
Research respectively. They were part                                                                                                 handling and musculoskeletal
of the HSE team which won a 2019 Spirit                                                                                               disorders supports HSE policymakers
of One HSE Award45 for launching                                                                                                      and specialist inspectors, as well
the ‘Musculoskeletal Disorders Risk                                                                                                   as external organisations.
Reduction through Design’ Award with
the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics                                                                                                 Andrew has written on the effectiveness
and Human Factors (CIEHF), of which                                                                                                   of manual handling technique
both are registered members.                                                                                                          training and is a member of a PEROSH
                                                                                                                                      technical group that won the Applied
Chris and Andrew played important                                                                                                     Ergonomics 2017 Best Paper Award
roles in the development of HSE’s risk                                                                                                for work on wearable devices.16
assessment tools for musculoskeletal
disorders: the Manual Handling                                                                                                        Andrew’s epidemiological work
Assessment Charts (MAC and                                                                                                            includes prospective validations of
V-MAC); 46,47 Assessment of Repetitive                                                                                                whether the US NIOSH lifting equation51
Tasks (ART); and Risk Assessment of                                                                                                   and the MAC tool can predict lost-
Pushing and Pulling (RAPP)(see the                                                                                                    time low-back injuries and he has
case study on page 45). They were also                                                                                                examined the feasibility of carrying
influential in the development of HSE’s                                                                                               out an intervention study to prevent
guidance on Upper limb disorders in the    Chris Quarrie                                    Andrew Pinder                             the incidence of musculoskeletal
workplace (HSG60) 48, and the Manual                                                                                                  disorders in the workplace.
Handling Operations Regulations (L23).49   Chris currently acts as the primary point        and ergonomists, Reducing manual
                                           of contact for regulatory colleagues             handling risks in carpet retail           His work on manual handling includes
Chris is a specialist inspector in         on enforcement and advice on                     (INDG439) 50 was developed. This          looking at household kerbside waste
human factors and ergonomics               musculoskeletal disorders. Through               guidance was welcomed by industry         collection11 (see the case study on
and has had several different roles        site visits he has identified a number           and can also be used to manage            page 46) and brick packing workers.
within HSE since joining in 1999. After    of higher-risk workplace activities, for         the risks associated with delivering
gaining his degree in ergonomics           example those associated with the                other items such as white goods. It
at Loughborough University, he             manual handling of carpets during                demonstrates how HSE works with
worked within an ergonomics                delivery activities. Working alongside           stakeholders to develop fit for purpose
consultancy prior to joining HSE.          trade associations and HSE policymakers          advice and good practice information.

                                                                                       19
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                                                                 Meet the staff

Rhiannon Williams                                                                              Mark Woods
Fire scientist                                                                                 Health Scientist

                                                                                               MARK HAS A background in
                                                                                               biomedical science and worked
                                                                                               in the NHS and pharmaceutical
                                                                                               industry, before joining HSE in 1995.
                                                                                               He has a PhD in haematology
                                                                                               from the University of Sheffield.

                                                                                               As a health scientist at HSE’s
                                                                                               headquarters in Bootle, Mark’s main
                                                                                               role is to manage HSE’s permissioning
                                                                                               schemes for appointing doctors to
                                                                                               conduct medical surveillance and
                                                                                               fitness to work assessments as required
                                                                                               under health and safety regulations.
                                                                                                                                         Mark says, ‘I enjoy the variety of
RHIANNON JOINED HSE in January 2016           to find their ignition temperatures,             The work covers statutory medicals        work that I am involved in and
as a support scientist within the Explosive   an important consideration when                  required for individuals working with     the challenges it can present. My
Atmospheres Team at the Science and           such products are used in car air-               asbestos, ionising radiation, lead        role provides an opportunity to
Research Centre, moving to a new              conditioning systems, for example.               and specific chemicals, as well as        work with policy, regulatory and
post within the Fire and Thermofluids                                                          those working in compressed-air           scientific colleagues and contribute
Team in 2018. She has contributed             Rhiannon is currently studying for a Fire        tunnelling and commercial diving.         evidence to help inform policy.’
to numerous experiments, incident             Engineering Degree at the University of          The role includes advising doctors on
investigations and research projects          Central Lancashire – sponsored by HSE.           the appointment process, providing
across both these research areas.                                                              guidance on how to conduct statutory
                                              She says, ‘Working for HSE has given             medical examinations and auditing
As one of the technicians within the          me the opportunity to develop my                 the performance of appointed doctors.
battery safety projects team, Rhiannon        skills and knowledge in both science
is often found working on the effects         and engineering. I thoroughly                    Mark also provides guidance and
of battery abuse or misuse, such as           look forward to progressing in my                advice to internal HSE stakeholders
creating short circuits, overheating          career, working towards my degree,               and external stakeholders, including
and overcharging – which can lead             expanding my professional network                other government departments,
to thermal runaway or cell failure.           and researching in an area which, not            on occupational health issues.
                                              only am I passionate about, but will
At other times, she is involved in the        also give me the ability to change,
testing of new refrigerants in order          and perhaps even save, people’s lives.’

                                                                                          20
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                                                                  Meet the staff

Alison McGillivray / Zoe Chaplin
Risk Assessment Specialist / Consequence Modeller and Risk Assessment Scientist

ALISON AND ZOE both work at HSE’s                                                                                                        study an page 42). She is responsible
Science and Research Centre.                                                                                                             for the ongoing development of
                                                                                                                                         HSE’s risk assessment model for
Alison joined HSE in 2005 after                                                                                                          pipelines, which is used to provide
completing her undergraduate                                                                                                             information for land-use planning
degree in physics with meteorology                                                                                                       purposes. This involves reviewing,
and her master’s degree in remote                                                                                                        developing and implementing
sensing and image processing,                                                                                                            new mathematical models as
both at the University of Edinburgh.                                                                                                     required, as well as more general
                                                                                                                                         maintenance of the existing systems.
Alison’s main specialism is
consequence modelling for major                                                                                                          Zoe has been involved in projects
hazard risk assessment, using                                                                                                            investigating the possibility of
mathematical ‘integral’ models such                                                                                                      repurposing gas pipelines for
as Phast52 and Drift.53 Over the past                                                                                                    hydrogen or carbon dioxide usage.
nine years she has used her skills in a                                                                                                  Previously she has worked on the
number of HSE incident investigations                                                                                                    investigation into the Shoreham
to model the extent and consequences                                                                                                     Airshow crash,59 aircraft crash rates,
of uncontrolled releases in onshore                                                                                                      electric car charging at home, and
and offshore environments (see the                                                                                                       offshore windfarms, to name but a few.
case study on page 36). She has also
been heavily involved in consequence                                                                                                     Zoe says, ‘I love the wide variety of
modelling for carbon capture and                                                                                                         work that I do. I am constantly learning
storage (CCS) scoping projects for            Zoe Chaplin (left) and Alison McGillivray                                                  about new technologies and industries,
industry.54 On one particular project                                                                                                    as well as meeting new people, all
she modelled the consequences                 Alison says, ‘Incident work is so varied         on mathematical models for various        of which I find really interesting.’
associated with a CCS demonstration           in causes and consequences, it’s                 industries including transport and
plant where 1 million tonnes of               interesting trying to understand why             weather. She has a degree in              Most recently, Alison and Zoe have
carbon dioxide was being injected             something happened and how it                    mathematics from the University           both been actively involved with
into underground storage over a trial         can be represented by a model.                   of Bristol and a master’s in fluid        supporting the UK Space Agency in
period of three years in Decatur, Illinois.   Work can pop up when I least expect              dynamics from Cranfield University.       identifying suitable methodologies
                                              it, so it keeps me on my toes.’                                                            to assess the risks from spaceports for
Other areas of interest to Alison include                                                      Zoe’s work is varied, although her        vertical and horizontal launches. This is
providing training, and COMAH and             Zoe joined the Risk Assessment                   main specialism is major accident         to help with the government’s intention
offshore safety case assessment.              Methods team in 2008, after working              hazard pipelines 53,55–58 (see the case   to develop the UK space industry.60

                                                                                          21
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                 Meet the staff

Shaun Donaghy                                  Jackie Morton
Chief Economist                                Biomonitoring Specialist

SHAUN IS AN economist with a                   JACKIE IS A principal scientist within
background in health and work.                 HSE’s Biological Monitoring Team.
He joined HSE in 2018 from Public              Her expertise is in monitoring human
Health England where he led the                exposures to toxic elements and
development of a prioritisation                inorganic substances. These range
framework for local authorities and            from ‘traditional’ heavy metals such
return on investment tools. Before             as lead, cadmium and mercury to
that, Shaun worked in the Department           elements of carcinogenic concern,
for Work and Pensions for ten years –          such as arsenic and hexavalent
he was the policy lead for mental              chromium, and sensitisers including
health and employment as well                  beryllium and nickel. Jackie
as the economic adviser for the                has pioneered new analytical
Mesothelioma Act and the review of             techniques and approaches
the GB Work Capability Assessment.             including hair analysis for methyl
                                               mercury, arsenic speciation in urine
Shaun has enjoyed being able to                and chromium speciation in exhaled       In addition to her innovative
feed into the strategic direction of           breath condensate. All these             analytical research, Jackie is a
HSE and contribute to the wellbeing            techniques have enabled more             scientist who very much believes in
of Bootle colleagues through weekly            specific determination of exposures      staff development. She has been
mindfulness groups. Working on                 to these hazardous elements.61–64        a mentor and co-supervisor to
statutory research and analysis as well                                                 several PhD students, including those
as commercial and strategic work has           Jackie’s current projects include        doing part-time research at HSE,
enabled him to quickly get to know             the development of single particle       and supports others in academic
people from across the organisation.           analysis, which may allow the            study. She is actively involved in
                                               differentiation of respirable            outreach activities, including science
Shaun says, ‘I came to HSE to                  crystalline silica exposure,65           for primary schools and through
develop myself and broaden my                  which causes silicosis and other         volunteering for her local section
experience, I’m very happy to say              lung diseases, from exposure             of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
that it has exceeded my expectations.          to soluble silicates. She is also
What I didn’t expect is how warmly             further developing speciation            Jackie says, ‘I really enjoy
I’ve been welcomed. I manage a                 methods, with a focus on                 communicating my passion for
fantastic mixed team of researchers            manganese, a neurotoxin, where           analytical chemistry and helping
and economists – the people of                 it is currently difficult to interpret   others to understand its value, be that
HSE are its biggest strength.’                 results from the measurement of          with colleagues, research students
                                               manganese in biological fluids.          or the scientists of the future.’

                                          22
Case studies
HSE Annual Science Review 2020                                                                                                 Case studies | Keeping pace with change

           Innovation in battery technology – safely enabling the Industrial Strategy

THE UK GOVERNMENT Industrial Strategy
sets out how government is building a                                                                                                     What were the benefits?
Britain fit for the future – ensuring that
our country can embrace and benefit                                                                                                       By bringing together industry,
from the opportunity of technological                                                                                                     researchers, standards makers
change. Unlike industrial revolutions                                                                                                     and regulators, this HSE event
of the past, our new industrial strategy                                                                                                  has strengthened knowledge
needs to be powered by sustainable,                                                                                                       and awareness of the technical
clean energy. As such, there is growing                                                                                                   challenges needed to enable the
demand for batteries for electrification.                                                                                                 safe introduction of innovative
                                                                                                                                          energy technologies that
The government is investing heavily                                                                                                       contain lithium-ion batteries –
in research and innovation, and new                                                                                                       a key pathway to an electrified
facilities to scale-up and advance                                                                                                        economy and a sustainable,
the production, use, and recycling                                                                                                        clean energy system.
of batteries. Initially focus is on
the automotive sector to meet the                                                                                                         For more information see
growing demand for electric vehicles,                                                                                                     Innovation in battery technology. 66
investment in this area will help
advance battery development for other
applications for an electrified economy.

New technologies introduce new
challenges – including health and             Jonathan Buston, HSE battery safety expert
safety. HSE responded to these
challenges by hosting ‘Innovation in          Keynote speakers gave the latest                  There were over 175 delegates
Battery Technology – Safely Enabling          thinking within industry and                      at the event including:
the Industrial Strategy’.66 This event        government, combined with                         technological innovation
brought together stakeholders across          presentations from HSE specialists                specialists; risk management
regulators, industry, academia,               who shared insight from working with              specialists; emergency services
researchers and standards makers to           industry on managing risks related                and first responders; equipment
focus on meeting the technical and            to the handling, storage and use of               manufacturers; health and safety                Funding source
scientific challenges – ensuring that         energy systems containing lithium-ion             professionals; and policy advisers.             Commercial events
safety scenarios are understood, and          batteries across different applications                                                           and training
potential risks are effectively controlled.   and real-world hazard scenarios.

                                                                                           24
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