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Thomas Ashton Institute unlocks the potential of health and safety data

15 May 2018

The Thomas Ashton Institute support Lloyd's Register Foundation and HSE to announce 'DISCOVERING SAFETY' programme

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Every year, huge amounts of incident investigation findings and operational health and safety data are collected globally. The Lloyd's Register Foundation (LRF) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), supported by the Thomas Ashton Institute here at the University are running an ambitious new programme, 'DISCOVERING SAFETY' which aims to substantially improve health and safety and ultimately save lives, particularly in poorer or developing nations.

The team have been working with industry, trade groups, international networks, governments, academia and other stakeholders to identify health and safety challenges and opportunities where deeper insights from data could make a significant impact. Important questions emerging from this work include 'How can we learn more about the root causes of product safety failures?' and 'What are the causes and circumstances leading to loss of containment accidents in high hazard industrial sites?'

These and other questions will be explored in a multi-disciplinary effort which will develop new techniques to aggregate and analyse health and safety data from sources around the world. The work will understand how to access and use the data available and apply leading expertise in data science, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Much of the work will be underpinned by advances in areas such as text mining and language processing, which are expected to have important spin-off benefits.

The DISCOVERING SAFETY programme will build on the research outcomes to make a practical difference, applying the findings to international improvement initiatives, education and commercial tools and services.

By exploiting the value that data can bring to health and safety in a global context, DISCOVERING SAFETY will ultimately benefit both emerging and mature economies by reducing fatalities and injuries caused by industrial accidents and ill health. Organisations from all parts of the world will be able to develop strategies to sustain health and safety performance and to continue to make improvements to ensure longer term benefits and impact.

Professor Neil K. Bourne, Director of The University of Manchester Harwell Campus, and Co-Director of The Thomas Ashton Institute said: “This ground-breaking programme will make us safer, and more certain of our well-being as we work. With this research, our Institute has the potential to directly impact policy, industries and employees across the world. The University’s world-class research, and HSE’s rich experience, will underpin this ambitious programme to deliver a safer workplace.”

The team will be providing regular updates to the wider community. For more information please email: