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How do we measure our safety?

A Global Safety Outlook for the changing world of work.

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charity helping to protect the safety of life and property by supporting education, research and public engagement, today launches its Foresight review on global safety evidence. The review shows what global safety data is currently available, and looks ahead to how to make this fit for the future.

Lloyd’s Register’s origins lie in the publication of global safety evidence. The Register of Ships was trusted public information on which many stakeholders could make decisions, decisions that led to huge improvements in safety.

Over 260 years later we live in an age of global data. Yet despite advances in data collection, reporting and analysis there are still large gaps in our knowledge. We need improved data to make better decisions and target valuable resources where they are most needed.

Coupled with these data gaps is the changing nature of the world we live in. Supply chains are increasingly complex and international. Workers move between sectors and countries and a ‘job for life’ is a thing of the past. Technology increasingly enables different ways of working and will be used more and more to replace workers in hazardous environments.

Innovative data collection methods and analytical techniques provide new opportunities for safety and risk insights to help us understand, monitor and prevent harm. 

The Foresight review, led by Professor Andrew Curran, Chief Scientific Adviser and Director of Research for the Health & Safety Executive, HMG, draws on interviews and desk studies with an international range of experts from many sectors and with different perspectives.

The Foresight review on global safety evidence explores current data sets on the state of global safety, how such data are used, and what the trends and challenges are for the future evidence base for safety:

  • Data quality and reliability varies widely in systems generating data at government, sector and company level exist, with some countries lacking any functioning systems for health and safety data collection and disclosure.
  • Non-safety specific data sets can provide a critical context for safety, such as GDP, the existence of regulatory and enforcement frameworks, transparency and the rigour of notification systems, investments in education and health outcomes.
  • Predictive (leading) indicators will have more impact than lagging indicators of health and safety performance, and improved data collection.
  • Health and safety and chronic disease should be considered together, in seeking to understand and track leading indicators of safety.
  • The need to capture and understand data from weak signals, near misses and emerging patterns related to safety performance as well as intelligence from a smaller number of high impact, high profile catastrophes.
  • Unstructured data and new analytical techniques can help us identify a range of health and safety performance indicators.

The review sets out its recommendations for how the Foundation can make a distinctive difference in developing a Global Safety Outlook, by convening leaders who contributed to the research and those developing new approaches to understanding global safety data and performance:

  • Using existing data sources to identify and communicate global safety priorities and opportunities to continuously improve and enrich available safety data and intelligence.
  • Identifying which evidence-based interventions and research can be made by the Foundation, in collaboration with others, to improve world safety outcomes.
  • Making global safety analysis and data accessible for public use.
  • Scoping education and development programmes for the global community. 

Professor Richard Clegg, Chief Executive of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation said “When we set out to examine the current global safety evidence base we anticipated a complex and varied data landscape. However this Foresight review points beyond the data to the changing way in which decisions are made, the needs of the community for predictive indicators to prevent harm and not just record it, the maturing understanding and impetus to improve health outcomes alongside safety, and the opportunities new technologies bring.”

The review provides the Foundation with the starting point in developing a resource for all: a Global Safety Outlook for a safer future. 

Download the Foresight review on global safety evidence at lrfoundation.org.uk/publications

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