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Outstanding status for ground-breaking health and safety programme

Leeds Beckett University and Amey, a multi-national supplier of consulting and infrastructure support services, have worked together to develop an industry leading ‘ThinkSafe’ toolkit.

Amey health and safety The toolkit is designed to gather non-traditional safety data, including psychological and behavioural factors, and workers’ safety experiences and perceptions, with an ambition to improve health and safety in the workplace and reduce accident risk for frontline workers.

Working with Leeds Beckett on a three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, Amey (Consulting & Rail division) has taken positive steps to achieve their ‘Target Zero’ objective of zero lost time injuries by 2021.

Such has been the success of the KTP that it has recently been awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating - the highest possible - by an independent panel of assessors from Innovate UK.

This exceptional rating is given to a very small percentage of KTP projects, signifying the highest quality of collaboration.

Rajkiran Kandola, a Psychology graduate with a Masters in Occupational Psychology, led the project and was supported by a team of academics at Leeds Beckett, specifically the Psychology Applied to Safety & Health research group (PASH), within the Leeds School of Social Sciences.

Rajkiran said: “I feel honoured to have worked on this KTP project. It has been a fantastic opportunity for me and I am so pleased that the project has now been graded outstanding.”

Rajkiran has now been appointed in a permanent role as Amey’s HSEQ Human Factors Business Partner while continuing to study for her Chartership in Occupational Psychology.

The ThinkSafe toolkit has been designed to allow safety managers to access appropriate academic safety research knowledge and administer psychological/behavioural metrics proactively at set intervals in order to monitor risk and also at safety trigger points, for example when an accident occurs.

The ThinkSafe toolkit has been embedded into the safety management system and utilised immediately. For example, it was deployed recently in relation to a potentially serious close call, allowing Amey to gain a much deeper understanding of the causal factors from the employees themselves, and provide guidance with respect to subsequent safety improvements.

Robert Doyle, HSEQ Director, Consulting & Rail at Amey, said: “We are particularly proud to achieve a grading of outstanding for this ambitious and complex KTP. It has certainly challenged, yet supported Amey’s approach in developing a tailored behavioural safety framework, which has been invaluable."

Dr Jim Morgan, Principal Lecturer and PASH lead at Leeds School of Social Sciences added: “As advocates of the KTP programme, we are privileged to receive this outstanding rating from Innovate UK in recognition for the school’s capability in the application of psychological theory and methods to improve real world safety management.

"The KTP has contributed to the university’s portfolio of Psychological Safety projects and has enhanced our track record and visibility in occupational health and safety research and application.”

The project has made a significant impact on the teaching at Leeds Beckett. It has provided a powerful example for MSc Psychology students of how theory and methods can be applied in an engineering setting.

The KTP project has also directly contributed to the university’s research strategy. It is a gold standard quality indicator for the work conducted by the PASH research group.

Also, the KTP will contribute directly to a case study entitled “Reducing accident risk for frontline safety-critical workers” for the imminent REF2021 submission for UoA4 (Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience).

For more information about the KTP, please view our video about the project.
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