School of Social Sciences
Psychology Applied to Safety and Health (PASH)
We have expertise in the broad areas of Organisational Psychology, Human factors, and Occupational Health Psychology with more specific capabilities in the following areas:
- Human factors aspects of complex systems
- Workload and stress management
- Risk perception
- Risk decision making
- Health behaviour change
- Safety motivation
- Proactive behaviour
- Safety leadership
- Safety culture and climate
- Safety citizenship
- Human-computer interaction
The majority of consultancy work is conducted by Dr Jim Morgan (the PASH group lead, pictured above) and Dr Matteo Curcuruto, who have over 25 years combined experience in delivering applied projects.
Dr Jim Morgan is a member of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors and the Rail Research UK Association (RRUKA). Dr Matteo Curcuruto is a recognised Professional Psychologist and Safety Consultant in Italy. He is a former member of both the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology and the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Jim received a prestigious Economic and Social Research Council CASE studentship grant to fund his PhD in collaboration with Eurostar UK Ltd. Matteo received a ‘Best PhD Thesis in Organisational Psychology’ award in 2011 from the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP) for his thesis entitled Proactivity and safety in HRO systems. Application of the proactive role orientation paradigm.
In 2013 Dr Curcuruto (pictured below, centre) was also awarded a BASF ‘Extra Mile for Safety’ prize for his collaborative work with the University of Bologna to develop a safety intervention for the company.
From time to time projects draw on expertise from across the Psychology department. Psychology colleagues who have worked on recent projects include:
We also employ Research Associates to work within companies to ensure project deliverables are fit for purpose and to maximise academic knowledge transfer. Our current Research Associates are:
- Raj Kandola (Safety Smart Project Manager at Amey Consulting & Rail)
- Maria Matthews (YourAIM Project Manager at VolkerRail)
We have collaborative links with national and international safety research centres including the University of Aberdeen, The Centre for Safety at the University of Western Australia, and the Coalition for Healthy and Equitable Workplaces at Washington State University, Vancouver.
We’ve worked, or are working with clients including:
- Eurostar UK Ltd.
- VolkerRail Ltd.
- Care UK
- NHS 111 (NHS England)
The VolkerRail YourAIM project is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project which continues an established collaboration with VolKerRail to improve employee engagement, supplement existing data, and design, implement and embed, data driven, user-centred, targeted and tailored behavioural interventions to enhance rail worker safety and reduce accident risk.
VolkerRail have collaborated with Jim on an evolving project over the course of several years. We are very interested in the application of psychological research methods in addition to traditional behavioural safety approaches. Our deeper knowledge of behavioural factors influencing safety for our workers has allowed us to implement system and process changes that, in combination with other safety measures, has resulted in a steady decrease in accidents and incidents and the recent achievement of a zero accident frequency rate (AFR). Our collaborative KTP initiative, the YourAIM project, is continuing to enhance our proactive safety approach with the aim of developing targeted and tailored safety interventions closely informed by psychological and behavioural data.Stuart Spriggs, HSQE Director, VolkerRail
Amey (Consulting & Rail)
The Amey SafetySmart project is also a three-year KTP programme part funded by Innovate UK. The aim is to develop and test a behavioural safety framework using mixed psychological research methods to reduce accident risk for Amey rail workers.
In 2015, Dr Morgan was approached by the medical director of Care UK, one of several providers of the NHS111 non-emergency medical helpline to conduct a pilot study assessing human factors aspects and risks in this distributed cognitive system. Our findings were well received by Care UK and shared with NHS England who are utilising some of the key learning to inform the redesign of NHS111 in the context of changes to the wider urgent care system.
As I investigated a number of clinical incidents involving the new NHS 111 telephone service, I became aware that we faced significant challenges around complex human and systemic factors involved in the communications occurring between callers and health and clinical advisors. I identified Jim Morgan as one of the UK’s leading experts in the field of human factors and ergonomics and sought his help to try and identify the nature and scale of the problems that we were facing. After a brief scoping visit where Jim reviewed a small number of cases in which significant adverse outcomes occurred, Jim and his team went on to review a representative sample of anonymised calls, analysing the interactions that were occurring between the caller and health care staff within the call centre. The findings of the pilot study are both interesting and very useful. The study highlights a number of hidden or latent risks within the service but also suggests potential remedies or areas of further study. There are very useful insights into areas of communication breakdown with a particular recognition of the nuances of third party communications – something that is frequently an issue in health care – especially when dealing with elderly or vulnerable populations. Further research is likely to prove very valuable in terms of offering refinements to patient contacts that will reduce and may even eliminate certain types of risk. The key point here is that the sheer volume of patient contacts that are handled by the NHS 111 service means that even small changes to protocols or pathways may have significant safety benefits if applied across the service. I am very eager to see the fruits of further research.Dr Russell Kelsey, GP and former Regional Medical Director, Care UK
Dr Curcuruto developed an extensive action-research collaboration with the chemical company, BASF. The scope of the collaboration was to develop a systematic proactive approach toward safety management driven by scientific principles from Organizational Psychology and Human Factors disciplines. This involved a combination of safety culture surveys, safety leadership education training, Non-Technical Skills workshops, and the analysis and redesign of safety systems.
The outputs form this project continue to be rolled-out, and to date has included numerous plants in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, with an overall population of circa 2000 workers. As a result, three principle plants have achieved their ‘zero-injury’ target, and have maintained this over several years.
We would like to praise the action-research program undertaken by dr. Matteo Curcuruto in our production site. So far, more than 300 workers have been involved in the diagnostic and intervention projects, which were eventually awarded with the international safety award of our world EV-division. Moreover, we have been delighted to present the program initiative to our European operation meeting as a new frontier for Occupational Health and Safety to be integrated with our standard programs already in place.Tiziano Lanzarini, Site Director BASF Pontecchio Marconi Plant (Italy)