Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019-2020 - HSE

Health and Safety

Science and Evidence
Delivery Plan 2019–2020

Science, engineering and evidence underpins           The outputs from our work include a suite
the work of HSE, and provides a basis for             of national statistics, post-implementation
robust decision making. It is a requirement           reviews, peer reviewed publications,
for HSE under the HSW Act to, ‘make such              involvement in national and international
arrangements as it considers appropriate              committees as well as significant
for the carrying out of research and the              contributions to technical conferences
publication of the results of research and            and sector-specific events.
the provision of training and information,
                                                      Our knowledge is transferred through
and encourage research and the provision
                                                      training and through commercial activities
of training and information by others’.
                                                      so that the information we generate is
Our Science and Evidence Strategy and                 available in a suitable form for those who
our Science and Evidence Investment Plan              will benefit from it.
describe how we do this, and how this links
                                                      The data we collect is now informed by
to HSE’s broader strategy and plan. This
                                                      our Measurement Strategy to evaluate
science and evidence delivery plan provides
                                                      the success of HSE’s interventions and,
more detail on what we will actually deliver.
                                                      through growing external investment, we
Increasingly, our work is funded jointly with         can create more intelligence from our
other organisations as ‘Shared Research’,             cumulative data collected over the last
which enables us to develop shared                    40 years for the benefit of others, both in
solutions to problems faced by both the               the UK and overseas.
regulator and the regulated.
                                                      HSE’s mission is the prevention of
We have also published our Areas of                   work-related death, injury and ill health.
Research Interest so that others (including           The science, engineering and evidence that
the Research Councils) can see the big                we provide each year supports this mission
questions we would like to address. Central           and enables a better working world.
to our approach are the science hubs; each
provides a focus for thinking and enables us
not only to consider the issues of today, but
                                                                       Professor Andrew Curran
also how we might address the knowledge
                                                                       Chief Scientific Adviser and
gaps to equip us to deal with the future
                                                                              Director of Research
world of work.

1 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Regulatory frameworks which are fit for the future

Vision: Regulatory frameworks which are fit for the future ensuring health and
safety compliance and enabling innovation in the workplace.

The aim of the programme of work in this              Research in this science hub will be developed
science hub is to develop our understanding           to understand how well current regulatory
of the current and future world of work and           frameworks can accommodate expected
to ensure that our regulatory framework is fit        trends in work demographics, working
for purpose.                                          patterns, technologies, health hazards, new
                                                      uses for old substances and how regulatory
In recent years, HSE has undertaken an
                                                      frameworks may need to change.
extensive review of health and safety
regulations and has simplified the regulatory         It will also provide the evidence base to
framework, making legislation easier to               target improvements in regulation where
understand and comply with.                           required. We will develop evidence for
                                                      innovative approaches to regulation
We will continue with this work, ensuring
                                                      through collaboration across HSE and other
science, engineering evidence and
                                                      government departments, to make sure
analysis underpins and makes a significant
                                                      we maintain our world-class reputation for
contribution to meeting the government’s
                                                      regulatory excellence.
better regulation agenda and Business
Improvement Target.                                   Work in this science hub links to the
                                                      following key action in HSE’s Business Plan:
                                                      ●● Provide an effective regulatory

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Provided analytical support to policy                    Union, including preparing for any
    development including impact                            necessary changes to the chemicals
    assessments (eg Carcinogens and                         regulatory regime
    Mutagens Directive) and post-
                                                      ●● Worked across HSE and industry to
    implementation reviews (eg Biocidal
                                                            develop shared research in the areas of
    Products and Chemicals Regulations)
                                                            remote visual inspection and wearable
●● Contributed to the government’s work                     devices for health and safety
    on the UK’s exit from the European

2 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our priorities for 2019/20

●● Further develop our approach to using                    Industrial Strategy, ensuring that HSE
    our evidence base to inform future                      remains an enabling regulator for
    regulatory approaches and ensure                        innovation in the workplace
    serious risks are diagnosed and
                                                      ●● Progress work that will help us
    proportionate action is taken
                                                            understand the role of technology
●● Through concepts such as the                             in helping support our regulatory
    Regulatory Intelligence Hub, develop                    framework. This will range from
    links between regulators where data                     exploring trends and drivers for
    and intelligence can be shared to                       change in regulatory approaches, to
    improve efficiency and effectiveness                    opportunities to enhance our regulatory
                                                            functions through use of technology
●● Develop relationships and research
                                                            such as artificial intelligence and the
    that will help address the health
                                                            internet of things
    and safety aspects of the UK’s

Our objectives for 2019/20

●● Create HSE research topic groups in                ●● Develop a programme of research on
    strategic areas (eg artificial intelligence)            workplace sensors that will coordinate
    to help coordinate, develop and                         the challenges, opportunities and
    disseminate research                                    pitfalls of using this technology for
                                                            workplace health and safety

3 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our key projects for delivery 19/20 and beyond

Impact and analysis                   Provide analytical support to policy development                     Ongoing
                                      including impact assessments and post-
                                      implementation reviews
                                      Support regulatory change following the UK’s exit                    Ongoing
                                      from the European Union
Machinery controls                    Provide insight about emerging technologies in the                         Q31
                                      field of machinery controls to inform future HSE
                                      policy and guidance
Targeting interventions               Improving the approach to validating sites for                              Q3
                                      inspection using new data and updated methods
Process improvement                   Integrating the collection, storage and                                     Q3
for land use planning                 management of spatial data to improve the
                                      efficiency and efficacy of HSE’s statutory land use
                                      planning responsibilities
Local exhaust ventilation             Investigate the feasibility of using effective                              Q3
(LEV)                                 commissioning of LEV to establish benchmarks for
                                      performance monitoring and potentially replace the
                                      need for annual statutory test (TExT)
    The dates given for all delivery/milestones are based on the latest information and therefore subject to change.

4 | 23    HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

The right evidence for the future

Vision: To take a long-term view on the development of the evidence base that
can support HSE’s long-term strategic approach.

HSE’s work is underpinned by robust                   best use of new data collection, modelling
scientific evidence. Our evidence base                and analytical techniques to provide
needs updating to reflect the rapid and               insight for our decisions on prioritisation,
complex changes in the workplace,                     targeted intervention, tracking progress and
workforce, working patterns and the                   evaluation of impact.
working environment, and, as a result,
                                                      Where appropriate, we will publish our data
the changes of HSE’s priorities and
                                                      and methods and share technical expertise
intervention strategies.
                                                      in data analytics and measurement science
To ensure our evidence-gathering systems              with other regulators and enhance our
continue to be effective and efficient – not          regulatory intelligence networks.
only fit for current priorities and intervention
                                                      Work in this science hub links
strategies but also flexible enough to meet
                                                      to the following key actions in
future challenges – we need to make our
                                                      HSE’s Business Plan:
evidence base coherent, strategic, future-
proofed, and focused on priority areas.               ●● Lead and engage with others to improve
                                                            workplace health and safety
We will keep abreast of the advances in
measurement science and technology to                 ●● Provide an effective regulatory framework
improve evidence gathering. We will make

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Published a comprehensive suite of                 ●● Completed several projects to improve
    health and safety statistics, to time                   HSE’s evidence base for effective risk
    and quality standards and with further                  management in areas of cryogenic liquid
    enhanced presentation                                   spills, warehouse fires at whisky storage
                                                            sites, fairground rides, safety-critical
●● Developed a coherent overall package
                                                            roles, wood dust exposure and modern
    of measurement plans to support
                                                            airborne disinfection
    the monitoring and evaluation of
    the Health and Work programme,
    as part of implementation of the
    HSE Measuring Strategy

5 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our priorities for 2019/20

●● Coordinate the delivery of the                     ●● Develop further the Workplace
    measurement plans and ensure the                        Intelligence System for Exposure-
    delivery joins up with other relevant                   control in Great Britain (WISE-GB)
    areas of work across HSE
                                                      ●● Explore an alert system for
●● Collect, compile and publish statistics                  identification of new and emerging
    on work-related ill health, injuries and                health and safety risks
    associated impacts
                                                      ●● Continue to explore suitable
●● Provide appropriate statistical                          approaches to meet challenges
    and analytical support to HSE’s                         and opportunities of advances in
    policy, communications, sector and                      measurement science and technology
    operational teams

Our objectives for 2019/20

●● Informed by the Measuring Strategy,                ●● Communicate and translate the
    deliver the measurement plans to                        improved evidence base and lessons
    assess the impact of the Health and                     learned to inform the continued
    Work programme in the health and                        development and implementation of
    safety system                                           the Health and Work programme

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Health and Safety

Our key projects for delivery 19/20 and beyond

National statistics              Publish a suite of health and safety statistics                     Q3
Monitoring and evaluation        A longitudinal survey of employers and employees              Ongoing
of interventions                 to measure changes in awareness, behaviours and
                                 control measures
                                 Conduct secondary analyses of the Health and                  Ongoing
                                 Work programme evaluation baseline survey
                                 and other relevant surveys to better understand
                                 employers’ and employees’ awareness, behaviours
                                 and control measures of work-related ill health
                                 risks in Great Britain
                                 Informed by our measuring strategy, implement                       Q2
                                 a coordinated and consistent approach to
                                 measurement to assess the impact of the Health
                                 and Work programme. and make this approach
                                 visible nationally and internationally
                                 Monitoring and evaluation of the Going-to-the-                      Q3
                                 Right-Places (GttRP) project
Data collection                  Capturing workplace exposure-control intelligence             Ongoing
                                 from health-related evaluation visits by HSE
Measurement science              Advancing measurements of occupational                        Ongoing
and technology                   exposure to metals hazardous to health for
                                 effective risk control
                                 Advancing the measurement of occupational                     Ongoing
                                 exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS)
                                 Measuring asbestos in air and lung samples;                         Q4
                                 assessment of an alternative method
                                 Ensuring better isocyanate exposure assessment                      Q4
                                 to better protect health at work
Modelling and risk               HSE’s modelling for predicting chorine dispersion             Ongoing
assessment                       in the ‘Jack Rabbit II’ experiments to provide the
                                 right evidence base for land use planning
                                 Development and maintenance of risk assessment                Ongoing
                                 models and guidance for land use planning
                                 Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses of the                         Q1
                                 regulatory model, HardSPEC, for herbicide use
Methodology                      Feasibility study for developing an occupational              Ongoing
                                 exposure intelligence system in Great Britain, using
                                 respirable crystalline silica (RCS) as an example

7 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

The impact of demographic change on the health and safety
of the future workforce

Vision: To provide a body of evidence that supports mitigating, preventing and
managing the impact of demographic changes on the health and safety of the
future workforce, informing interventions and solutions while positioning HSE
as the thought leader in this area.

A future health and safety challenge will             Ten areas with gaps in demographics
be managing the risks from changes in                 knowledge and evidence have been identified:
the demographic profile of Great Britain’s
                                                      ●● understanding and managing extended
workforce. This science hub aims to identify
                                                            working lives;
emerging hazards and risks arising from
these changes, including consideration                ●● competency and skills for the world of
of the interaction between demographic                      work;
changes, and changes to the work
                                                      ●● risk attitudes and behaviours;
environment and work organisation.
                                                      ●● working with chronic conditions;
Demographics typically involves the
statistical study of human populations                ●● impact of technology;
(eg in terms of size, distribution and
                                                      ●● insecure and remote working;
characteristics), but we are adopting a wider
interpretation of the term to cover contextual        ●● impact of sedentary work;
factors – changes in the workplace, including
                                                      ●● impact of occupational exposures on
technological change and changes in
                                                            working for longer;
exposures – and factors such as skills.
                                                      ●● women’s health; and
The longer-term aspirations for the
demographics programme of work are to                 ●● understanding and managing
mitigate, prevent and manage the impact                     communication and engagement in the
of adverse demographic changes on the                       future workforce.
health and safety of the workforce and help
                                                      These areas were refined into four priority
optimise efficient and productive future
                                                      areas of research interest: extended working
working. The outputs from the programme
                                                      lives; competency and skills; risk attitudes;
will inform appropriate interventions and
                                                      and behaviours and working cultures
solutions, and position HSE as the thought
                                                      (including understanding the health and safety
leader in demographic change related to
                                                      impact of a 24/7 always-on working culture).
occupational health and safety.
                                                      Our work will address these areas, along
Dutyholders will be better prepared and use
                                                      with the health and safety challenges that
appropriate interventions and solutions to
                                                      arise from the interaction between them.
manage demographic risks, demographics
                                                      Work in this science hub will link to the
evidence will be used to support delivery
                                                      following actions in HSE’s Business Plan:
of commitments in our sector action plans,
and our policy making will be informed by             ●● Secure effective management and
demographic and foresight evidence – making                 control of risk
it more relevant for the future workforce.
                                                      ●● Lead and engage with others to improve
                                                            workplace health and safety

8 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Completed a scoping study (and                     ●● Produced new project outlines to
    engagement exercise) that identified                    address the priority research questions
    the focus for HSE’s work on managing                    identified in the extended working lives
    health and safety risks from extended                   scoping study – using the evidence from
    working lives. This obtained knowledge                  the gig economy work to inform these
    on the risks from extended working lives
                                                      ●● Continued our collaboration with the
    and identified gaps in knowledge and
                                                            University of Manchester to improve
    priority research questions for HSE
                                                            our understanding of the health of older
●● Completed research and produced a                        professional drivers, and supported
    report on the gig economy. This set out                 production of industry-led guidelines for
    the key characteristics and size of the                 promoting health and wellbeing in this
    gig economy, along with potential health                cohort of workers
    and safety implications
                                                      ●● Engaged widely with academia and
                                                            others to discuss collaboration, funding
                                                            and potential to deliver joint research

9 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our priorities for 2019/20

●● Commission and begin project                            to anticipate and keep pace with
   work to obtain evidence that addresses                  demographic change, and to identify
   the research questions identified                       potential implications for HSE
   during 2018-19
                                                      ●● Continue monitoring demographic
●● Continue engagement activity                            research being undertaken by others,
   both within HSE and with external                       and review gaps in knowledge
   stakeholders                                            and evidence about the impact of
                                                           demographic change on the health and
●● Continue using evidence generated
                                                           safety of the future workforce
   from demographics foresight activity

Our objectives for 2019/20

●● Collaborate with the Thomas Ashton                 ●● Continue engagement with existing
   Institute to increase the existing body                 stakeholders, and extend this network,
   of demographics evidence – explore                      to improve HSE’s current knowledge
   a joint National Institute for Health                   and understanding about the impact
   Research bid based on evidence from                     of demographic change on workplace
   collaborative research to date                          health and safety

Key projects for delivery 19/20 and beyond

Extended working lives          Feasibility study: building a numerical ‘picture’ of                Q3
                                extended working lives
                                Understanding changes in risk attitudes and                    Starting
                                behaviours                                                     2019/20
                                The impact of practices used for managing                      Starting
                                extended working lives                                         2019/20

10 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

The right intervention strategy for the British industrial
asset base

Vision: To have effective intervention strategies that enable innovation with the
British industrial asset base while minimising risk and improving occupational
health and safety.

Our work in this area supports all                     Our work will focus on developing our
industrial sectors across Great Britain,               understanding of how materials and
including the many highly specialised                  structures degrade over time (asset life
industries which are strategically important           extension and decommissioning); informing
to the country’s economy and social                    risk-based inspection using non-destructive
infrastructure including oil and gas,                  and autonomous techniques and how
chemicals, explosives, mining and the                  designers and manufacturers contribute
bioeconomy, and all operating assets                   to improvements in occupational health
within the major hazards sector.                       and safety.
This sector can potentially cause great harm           We aim to have improved evidence on the
to their workers, the environment and the              emerging risks from new technologies,
public if associated risks are not properly            advanced manufacturing methods and
managed. New technologies are also being               ageing infrastructure, giving dutyholders
introduced to secure the future energy                 and stakeholders a better understanding of
supply and reduce carbon missions (eg                  their potential impact.
renewables) and improve productivity.
                                                       Work in this science hub links to the following
Work in this science hub will help ensure              key actions in HSE’s Business Plan:
that HSE has the science and evidence
                                                       ●● Reduce the likelihood of low-frequency,
needed to underpin our policy in key areas
                                                             high-impact catastrophic incidents
across the entire UK industrial asset base,
to support HSE’s operational activities now            ●● Secure effective management and
and in the future.                                           control of risk

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Literature review and experimental                  ●● Research on tower crane slewing
    work to improve understanding and                        brakes which was used to inform a
    the advice HSE provides on oil mist                      revision of the product standard for
    detectors – a potential flammable                        tower cranes (BSEN14439:2006) and
    risk mitigation technique in offshore                    raise awareness with UK tower crane
    protection systems                                       suppliers and users of slewing brakes
                                                             and catastrophic collapse

11 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our priorities for 2019/20

●● Support the key elements of                             integrity of new assets and emerging
   leadership, worker involvement,                         technologies
   competence and asset integrity
                                                      ●● Provide scientific support to securing
   across all major hazard sectors
                                                           improvement in the effective
●● Focus on decommissioning and                            management of network assets
   ageing infrastructure, and the                          including gas risers in high-rise homes

Our objectives for 2019/20
●● Engage with internal and external                  ●● Create two HSE research topic
   stakeholders to help facilitate the                     groups to target the priority areas of
   sharing of learning based on evidence                   decommissioning and dismantling
   from our applied science and research                   assets, and securing improvements in
   with those who can influence health                     the effective management of network
   and safety improvements                                 assets including gas risers in high-rise
                                                           homes to coordinate, develop and
                                                           disseminate research that will underpin
                                                           safety improvements in these areas

Our key projects for delivery 2019/20 and beyond

Flammable atmospheres           The testing of synthetic fire-resistant fluids to                 Q4
and thermal effects             determine the effects of degradation
                                Assessment of high-heat flux jet fire test methods                Q2
Plant and machinery             Soft landing systems – an evidence-based review                   Q3
Structural integrity            Investigate stainless steel corrosion cracking in               2021
                                offshore assets

12 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Taking responsibility for health at work

Vision: To identify, develop and analyse the evidence base needed to help
people in the health and safety system ensure a healthy, productive workforce.

We will commission work under this priority          gaps remain, particularly regarding the
area to identify and develop the evidence            contemporary situation in Great Britain, in
necessary for HSE to implement its Health            respect of practical and effective control
and Work programme, and more widely, to              measures, and evidence-based evaluations
help people in the health and safety system          of successful interventions.
take greater responsibility for health at work.
                                                     The rapidly changing nature of work
The Health and Work programme will focus             in Great Britain also means that in the
HSE’s major efforts on those conditions              future other health issues, such as ageing
that are widespread, have life-limiting              workforces, obesity, sedentary behaviour
or life-altering impacts, and with the               and cardiovascular disease, may become
greatest economic consequences. Stress,              increasingly important.
musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and
                                                     Work in this science hub area links
occupational lung diseases (OLDs) are
                                                     to the following key actions in
foremost among these.
                                                     HSE’s Business Plan:
Despite these occupational ill-health
                                                     ●● Lead and engage with others to improve
conditions being extensively researched
                                                           workplace health and safety
internationally, significant evidence

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Surveys of standards of control and               ●● Epidemiological review of
   airborne exposure including:                            GB silicosis cases
   • exposure to respirable crystalline silica       ●● Laboratory evaluation of low-dust
       exposure during demolition;                         control solutions for bakeries
   •   improving intelligence and
                                                     ●● Selection and use of PPE to protect
       occupational hygiene control
                                                           medical staff against infectious diseases
       standards in the waste and recycling
       industry;                                     ●● Literature reviews of the effectiveness of
   •   efficiency of exposure controls for                 manual handling training and the use of
       carcinogens during electroplating;                  wearable technologies to monitor and
   •   wood working; and                                   reduce risks of musculoskeletal disorders
   •   emissions from 3D printing
                                                     ●● Ergonomic assessments for single-
                                                           person deliveries and the use of
                                                           telescopic cleaning poles

13 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our priorities for 2019/20

●● Provide evidence and analysis                       ●● To develop a multi-centre study of
    to support the development,                              occupational exposure to respirable
    implementation and evaluation of new                     dust with automated and remote
    interventions to tackle priority health                  capture of data using low-cost
    risks in support of the Health and Work                  wireless sensors
    programme and sector plans
                                                       ●● To improve our understanding of the
●● To expand our collection of health                        future nature and burden of work-
    outcome data using digital tools                         related ill health, taking account of
    and data-sharing agreements with                         the changing patterns and nature of
    occupational health providers,                           work, new and emerging risks, and
    dutyholders and other stakeholders                       changing demography
●● To further explore the use of                       ●● To continue to engage and work
    wearable technologies to monitor                         with other government departments
    musculoskeletal and other health risks                   to share evidence and identify
                                                             opportunities joint research

Our objectives for 2019/20

●● Engage with internal and external                   ●● Co-create three collaborative
    experts to undertake a biennial review                   research proposals with the Thomas
    of occupational health risks                             Ashton Institute and other external
                                                             organisations to expand the scope
                                                             of HSE’s health research through the
                                                             leveraging of wider resources

14 | 23   HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our key projects for delivery 19/20 and beyond

Occupation        Collation and analysis of exposure and health surveillance data             Ongoing
lung disease      on silica-exposed workers
                  Longitudinal study exposure and respiratory health in brick                 Ongoing
                  manufacturing, foundries and stoneworkers
                  Respiratory health risks from processing of natural and                           Q1
                  artificial stone
                  Occupational hygiene survey of control of diesel engine exhaust                   Q2
                  emissions in underground mine workings
                  Hydrogen sulphide releases during the stirring of animal slurry                   Q2
                  Evaluation of new international standards for respiratory                         Q4
                  protective equipment
                  Dust and bioaerosol exposure in livestock and vegetable farming                   Q4
                  Ambient levels of asbestos in current workplaces                             2020/21
                  The use of biological monitoring to evaluate the sustainability of           2020/21
                  control improvements in electroplating
MSDs              Review of MSD risks in construction                                               Q4
                  Assessing the application, use and health risk implications of                    Q4
                  exoskeletons in GB industry
Stress            Evaluating workplace interventions that aim to reduce the                    Starting
                  incidence of work-related stress and improve worker wellbeing                2019/20
Other health      Occupational health fitness standards for divers                            Ongoing
                  Current control practice and exposures to noise and hand-arm                      Q2
                  vibration in the construction industry

15 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Lessons learned from investigations

Vision: Equip HSE with a lesson learning strategy that makes a tangible
contribution to the prevention of death, injury and ill health in GB workplaces.

HSE receives information on around 70 000            safety community. Benefits will include the
reportable health and safety incidents each          development of more effective, targeted risk
year and around 4000 of these incidents are          control strategies and guidance provided
subsequently investigated. In addition, our          to industry. There will be opportunities for
inspectors carry out approximately 20 000            us to better engage with, and influence,
proactive workplace inspections each year,           stakeholder groups, particularly SMEs.
generating intelligence on prevailing working
practices and areas of health and safety             Technical support for investigations,
concern. The potential for us to use these           inspections and enforcement
data sources to learn lessons, including
                                                     HSE’s focus is on the health and safety of
why different failures in health and safety
                                                     workers, but our regulatory interest extends
occur and how they might be prevented,
                                                     to cover the impact on the general public,
is substantial.
                                                     consumers and the environment. Of the
Recent developments in, and increased use            inspections and investigations undertaken
of, data analytic tools and applications, such       each year, a significant proportion require
as text mining, natural language processing,         science or engineering knowledge to
predictive analytics and statistical machine         identify the causes of problems and
learning, have made the task of generating           to identify reasonable and practicable
insights and learning from health and safety         solutions. We have specialists from over
data sources, particularly free text sources,        20 disciplines who provide expert technical
more achievable.                                     knowledge in support of investigations.
The aim of this science hub is to ensure that        Work in this science hub links
the generation of lessons learned insights           to the following key actions in
from our routine sources of health and               HSE’s Business Plan:
safety data is maximised, and that these are
                                                     ●● Secure effective management
used across HSE and the wider health and
                                                           and control of risk

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Officially launched the Thomas Ashton             ●● Set up a five-year ‘Discovering Safety’
   Institute for Risk and Regulatory                       Programme funded by Lloyds Register
   Research, in April 2018. This partnership               Foundation which is being delivered
   between HSE and the University of                       through the Institute in conjunction
   Manchester and hub for risk and                         with experts in data science/analytics,
   regulatory excellence, reaches                          artificial intelligence and machine
   out globally through its educational                    learning, including HSE staff
   activities and acts as an authoritative
                                                     ●● Supported regulatory colleagues to
   source of health and safety knowledge
                                                           improve the timely completion of
   and expertise

16 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Our priorities for 2019/20 and beyond – Lessons learned

●● Improve methods of capturing,                       ●● Enhance our ability to generate
    recording and storing of knowledge                       data-driven knowledge, insights and
    generated by investigation activities,                   learning from our diverse range of
    maximising the potential to generate                     routine health and safety data sources,
    wider learning                                           with emphasis on how it is brought
                                                             together and analysed
●● Enhance our ability to make full use
    of the knowledge generated from                    ●● Enhance our ability to share
    investigation activities, particularly                   knowledge, insights and learning,
    how it is brought together and                           internally and across the wider health
    synthesised                                              and safety system

Our priorities for 2019/20 and beyond – Technical support for
investigations, inspections and enforcement

●● Sustain improvement in the provision                      effectiveness and efficiency of the
    of timely/immediate technical support                    enforcement process
    to incident investigations, anywhere in
                                                       ●● Provide specific investigation support
    Great Britain
                                                             and any subsequent enforcement
●● Development and deployment of                             activity including management of
    appropriate new techniques and                           evidence and subsequent expert
    technologies that improve the                            witness input

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Health and Safety

Work with strategic stakeholders and key partners

HSE’s Shared Research programme                      will work with us to ensure that we can
supports external investment and                     undertake a comprehensive programme of
collaboration in our research portfolio.             work to address the identified requirements.
This allows resources and expertise to be
                                                     By supporting the shared research
shared for the benefit of all.
                                                     approach, contributing partners will not
Proposed projects seek to address                    only be able to help shape the focus of the
recognised knowledge gaps that are of                research activity, but also gain ongoing
interest to both HSE and other stakeholders,         access to emerging findings and have early
to enable us to better understand and                sight of outputs.
manage health and safety challenges.
                                                     The programme will benefit further from the
Through workshops with regulatory, industry          skill base of the Thomas Ashton Institute.
and other stakeholders, a consensus focus
                                                     Work in this area links to the following key
and approach are agreed and a summary
                                                     actions in HSE’s Business Plan:
project opportunity document is developed.
Partners are then sought to fund the work            ●● Lead and engage with others to improve
alongside HSE. Typically, several sponsors                 workplace health and safety

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Workshops and discussions to develop                    • the safe handling of waste metal
   new ideas for proposed projects on:                       powders; and
                                                           • remote visual inspection
   • wearable technologies in the workplace;

Our key projects for delivery 19/20 and beyond

Composites                      Integrity of engineered composite repairs on pipework       Ongoing
Escalator safety                Human behaviour and design features                         Ongoing
SSHEW                           Assessment of slip-resistant footwear for NHS               Ongoing
                                healthcare workers
Bolted joints                   Integrity of corroded bolted flanged joints on offshore     Ongoing
Flammable mists                 Generation of flammable mists from high-flashpoint          Ongoing
Thomas Ashton Institute         Deliver two industry/government/academia                          Q4
                                engagement events to identify collaborations with
                                new research partners
New shared research             Deliver two campaigns to widen the reach of our                   Q3
                                shared research work

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Health and Safety


HSE’s Foresight Centre will continue                 will use the intelligence from this work to
to support HSE and the broader health                inform HSE strategy and future research
and safety system to anticipate new and              requirements.
emerging health and safety challenges
                                                     Work undertaken in the Foresight Centre
in the workplace that arise from social,
                                                     links to the following key action in
economic and technological change.
                                                     HSE’s Business Plan:
We will use foresight and futures techniques
                                                     ●● Provide an effective regulatory
across a range of themes, to identify and
analyse trends and emerging issues, to
consider the opportunities and challenges            ●● Lead and engage with others to improve
that these may present and their potential                 workplace health and safety
to affect workplace health and safety. We

What did we deliver in 2018/19

●● Presented our annual Foresight Report
   on the theme of ‘Health’ to the HSE
   Board, March 2019

Our key projects for delivery 19/20 and beyond

Reporting                       Deliver the annual Foresight Report 2019/20                        Q4
Engagement                      Work with others to address issues and                    Ongoing
                                opportunities arising from our foresight and
                                futures activities

19 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Capability and capacity

We continue to develop and maintain                  We have a suite of frameworks to support
our scientific capability and capacity to            and maintain capability and delivery
optimise the contribution science makes              across the entire breadth of science and
to delivering HSE’s mission. Development             technology requirements required by the
of our staff is aligned with the Government          organisation. The frameworks include:
Science and Engineering (GSE) Profession
                                                     ●● Foresight and horizon scanning –
Strategy through:
                                                           To ensure HSE’s ability to respond
                                                           proactively to future hazards and risks,
Achieving Excellence in Science,
                                                           this framework will support our futures
Engineering and Evidence
                                                           team in delivering futures work and
This Programme of work aims to provide                     horizon scanning across the organisation
the environment and professional capability
                                                     ●● Information and data infrastructure
for delivering HSE’s Science, Engineering
                                                           management – This framework ensures
and Evidence (SEE), which aligns with
                                                           that we effectively manage and maintain
HSE’s response to the government’s
                                                           science and evidence information
professions strategies.
                                                           and data sources, databases, data
The programme’s themes are:                                repositories and image libraries to
                                                           ensure they are up to date and can be
●● Professional development –
                                                           readily and easily accessed by users
   To develop confident, competent
   scientific professional leadership                ●● Science credibility – We are committed
   that provides strong, positive direction                to ensuring we maintain our reputation
   and influence on the workplace and                      and credibility in the delivery of world-
   inspires and empowers the workforce                     class applied science and evidence. This
   to achieve the best                                     framework supports our membership
                                                           of national and international scientific
●● Pride in our science – To ensure
                                                           expert committees and networks. It
   that we provide the governance and
                                                           supports work to raise the profile of our
   programme environment that enables us
                                                           science and evidence with industry and
   to produce robust science, engineering
                                                           health and safety professionals
   and evidence that underpins both HSE’s
   regulatory activities and supports the            ●● Science publication – This framework
   commercial agenda                                       supports the production of peer-
                                                           reviewed journal and conference papers
●● Profile – To determine and undertake
                                                           as well as national and international
   the most effective dissemination and
                                                           conference presentations
   engagement approaches to ensure
   that the data and knowledge generated             ●● Science innovation – We will support
   from our SEE activities is promoted and                 our science teams in exploring novel
   utilised to best effect                                 ideas and activities which need to be
                                                           undertaken in a short time-frame to
                                                           maximise potential benefits

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Health and Safety

●● Emergent health and safety issues –               Work in this area links to the following key
   This framework supports science                   actions in HSE’s Business Plan:
   teams in investigating emergent issues,
                                                     ●● Enable improvement through efficient
   including shared research opportunities
                                                           and effective delivery
   on topics which have arisen unexpectedly
   and may have consequences for health
   and safety, and potentially require either
   regulatory action or further evidence
   gathering or research

What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Published over 90 peer-reviewed papers,                 through our Academic Learning
   articles and research reports                           Programme, a PhD in Chloride Stress
                                                           Corrosion Cracking, an MSc in Gas
●● Supported three opportunities for
                                                           Engineering and Management, and a
   professional capability development
                                                           BEng in Mechanical Engineering

21 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
Health and Safety

Governance, assurance and engagement

HSE’s Science, Engineering and Evidence              while meeting all legal requirements. We
Assurance Committee, a panel of                      have a Research Ethics Panel for work
independent external experts and a sub-              involving human tissue, subjects or data
committee of the HSE Board, provides                 which is accredited to the University
assurance to the Board on the quality and            of Sheffield Medical School Research
relevance of our science and evidence                Ethics Panel (REP). For potentially
strategy and delivery.                               higher-risk research, we obtain ethical
                                                     review from either this REP or an NHS REP
HSE’s Research Committee sub-groups,
                                                     as appropriate.
which include independent external experts
for each of the science hubs, are providing          We will build understanding of HSE’s use of
assurance to HSE’s Research Committee                applied science through the dissemination
of their direction and progress. HSE’s               of our annual Science Review, containing
Evaluation Committee is independently                case studies of impact. We will advance
evaluating the performance and benefits of           knowledge of potential emerging risks and
the science hubs.                                    issues for health and safety through our
                                                     annual Foresight Report. We will continue
HSE’s formal, scientific Workplace
                                                     to extend opportunities for further external
Health Expert Committee provides expert
                                                     communications and engagement via digital
opinion to our Chief Scientific Adviser
                                                     and social media.
and gives HSE access to independent,
authoritative, impartial and timely expertise        We will engage with stakeholders
on workplace health.                                 through involvement in HSE Board and
                                                     stakeholder events and attendance at
Publication of our scientific and analytical
                                                     conferences. We will also work with
work in peer-reviewed journals and
                                                     appropriate government professions and
conference proceedings helps maintain the
                                                     international scientific networks such as
credibility of our scientific capability, in its
                                                     the Partnership for European Research in
capacity to inform and underpin operational
                                                     Occupational Safety and Health (PEROSH)
regulatory and policy-making functions.
                                                     and the International Commission on
Demonstration of science quality is provided
                                                     Occupational Health (ICOH).
by challenge through the courts for expert
witness evidence.                                    Work in this area links to the following key
                                                     actions in HSE’s Business Plan:
HSE’s Ethical Statement for science sets
out our commitment to the highest possible           ●● Lead and engage with others to improve
ethical standards of behaviour and conduct                 workplace health and safety
throughout all facets of the work we do,

22 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
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What did we deliver in 2018/19?

●● Presented the annual Science Review at                  2018, recognising the contribution of
   the HSE Board meeting, March 2019                       HSE’s women in science, engineering
                                                           and inspectorate roles
●● Held the HSE Science Lecture at the
   Wellcome Collection, April 2018                   ●● Supported the government’s 2018 Year
                                                           of Engineering initiative and featured
●● Hosted the Suffrage Flag to mark 100
                                                           HSE’s women engineers on International
   years of votes for some women, October
                                                           Women in Engineering Day, June 2018

Our priority for 2019/20
●● Share the learning from our expert                ●● Develop an approach for monitoring
   science and research with those                         and evaluating the impact of HSE
   who can influence health and safety                     science

Our key projects for delivery 19/20 and beyond

Engagement and dissemination        To coincide with British Science Week, publish                 Q4
                                    a series of case stories within the Annual
                                    Science Review 2020 which links to HSE’s
                                    2019/20 campaigns
                                    Publish 100 research reports, articles,                        Q4
                                    peer-reviewed papers, conference seminars
Governance                          Hold meetings of the HSE Research Committee             Ongoing
                                    and related governance groups

23 | 23 HSE Science and Evidence Delivery Plan 2019–2020
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