Facebook tracking pixel [Skip to content]
To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

Research Case studies

Reducing accident risk for frontline safety‐critical workers


Our work

Despite a downward trend in injury rates in UK workplaces, accident occurrence in the rail industry remains an on-going issue. Results from the RSSB Annual Safety Performance Report for 2016/17 (RSSB, 2017), show that there were 164 major injuries to members of the UK rail workforce during this period. The seriousness of these events, alongside injury rates consistently above zero, provides a clear rationale for further research to identify, examine and understand the behavioural and psychological factors that may help to reduce accident risk in railway work.

Dr Jim Morgan is the academic lead on two independent 3-year Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) in the rail industry with Amey and VolkerRail. The purpose of the Amey (“SafetySmart”) project is to develop, implement and embed a structured Behavioural Safety Strategy with the aim of improving safety across the company's consulting and rail business and supply chain. The core of the VolkerRail (“YourAIM”) project is the innovative development of psychological/behavioural safety capability across VolkerRail’s safety and operational teams.

Jim is supported by a number of colleagues including Dr Matteo Curcuruto who has experience of developing safety culture and climate tools for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. There are also two KTP research associates, who lead the projects from within each company.

Our Impact

The Behavioural Safety Strategy developed during the Amey SafetySmart KTP project has resulted in a plethora of psychological safety innovations and outcomes:

  • The 1st validated Safety Climate survey for the rail industry.
  • Large scale (1200+ Amey worker responses) employee safety survey and associated recommendations report.
  • Data analytics providing further intelligence to support senior management decision making to reduce accident risk, e.g., mandated procedure changes (e.g. avoidance of late changes to workplans).
  • Amey KTP commended by the Rail Safety & Standards board (RSSB).
  • Amey KTP presented with a RISE (Research, Innovation, Sustainability, and Enterprise) award for collaboration from Leeds Sustainability Institute.
  • Amey KTP shortlisted for a ‘world class collaboration’ award by the UK Rail Industry Awards 2018 panel.
  • Amey safety climate results utilised in Amey’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) accreditation submission.
  • Amey KTP commended by CIRAS (the UK Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis Service) and featured in 2 CIRAS nationwide publications.
  • The development, testing and embedding of the SafetySmart ThinkSafe Toolkit which allows 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 (e.g. when an accident occurs).
  • A ‘bottom-up’ employee engagement strategy which has resulted in worker ownership and an improved safety culture.
  • The highest standards of Corporate Responsibility through enhanced workplace health and safety.
  • Improved company reputation (and relationships with the supply chain) and prestige.
  • SafetySmart included in bid applications for large contracts leading to increased revenue.

The VolkerRail YourAIM KTP project has also produced a number of impactful outputs for the company and its supply chain:

  • Large scale (300+ VolkerRail worker responses) employee safety survey and associated recommendations report.
  • Data analytics providing further intelligence to support senior management decision making to reduce accident risk.
  • In combination with other VolkerRail safety initiatives the KTP resulted in the achievement of a zero accident frequency rate (AFR) at VolkerRail.
  • A behavioural analysis of VolkerRail Airsweb (accident and incident) data. Report presented to the company with recommendations.
  • Rail Technology Magazine feature on ‘What’s next for safety?’.
  • IOSH magazine feature about the novel application of health psychology theory in the VolkerRail KTP.
  • Behavioural analysis of excavation safety behaviours resulting in behavioural workshops conducted with operational staff.
  • Validation and framework development for VolkerRail’s ‘Key Safe Behaviours’ initiative to ensure that safety management priorities are data driven (accident metrics and behavioural), dynamic and targeted at the right safety behaviours.
  • A ‘bottom-up’ employee engagement strategy which has resulted in worker ownership and an improved safety culture.
  • The highest standards of Corporate Responsibility through enhanced workplace health and safety.
  • Improved company reputation (and relationships with the supply chain) and prestige.

 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

Next Steps

The Amey KTP project will be completed shortly. The ThinkSafe toolkit is now embedded in Amey’s safety management system and will be utilised immediately. Plans are in place to continue the collaboration with Amey to evaluate the use of the toolkit and provide support for data analysis and safety intervention development. The VolkerRail KTP is ongoing, due for completion in 2019.

Research Outputs

Plus Icon In the media
Plus Icon Publications
  • Matthews, M., Morgan, J. and Spriggs, S. (2017) A cross-sectional study exploring the effect of work place stressors on individual psychological and behavioural indicators of safety. In: Sixth International Human Factors Rail Conference, November 6-9, 2017, London.
  • Kandola, R.A.J., Curcuruto, M. and Morgan, J. (2017) Safety climate validation for UK rail infrastructure workers: Analysis of the nomological network for design engineers and rail maintenance workers. In: Sixth International Human Factors Rail Conference, November 6-9, 2017, London.
  • Curcuruto, M., Griffin, M., Kandola, R. and Morgan, J.I. (2018) Multilevel Safety Climate in The UK Rail Industry: A Cross Validation of the Zohar and Luria MSC Scale. Safety Science, Vol 110 (part B), pp. 183-194.

    Kandola, R., Curcuruto, M., Griffin, M. and Morgan, J.I. (2019) The influence of organisational safety climate on group safety outcomes: The mediation role of supervisor safety communication and monitoring. In: Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 791 January, pp. 35-46.
  • Morgan, J., Kandola, R.A.J., Curcuruto, M. and Griffin, M. (2018) Safety climate in the UK railway industry: A leading indicator of safety performance? Analysis of the impact on accident experience, safety Compliance, consideration of future safety consequences, and trust in organizational safety systems. In: The Fourth International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance, September 3-7, 2018, Barcelona.
Back to Top Button
Back to Top Button