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An innovative psychological approach to health and safety


VolkerRail will continue to change attitudes towards safety after successfully securing a three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) grant, in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University, to look at new ways to enhance safety through psychological and behavioural expertise.

Funded by Innovate UK, the KTP grant supports companies who promote highly innovative projects that exchange and apply knowledge, skills and/or technology to accelerate sustainable economic growth.

Over the next three years, VolkerRail will work with Leeds Beckett University, leading Psychology Lecturer Dr Jim Morgan and Health Psychology masters graduate, Maria Matthews, to research, better understand and improve safety behaviours and well-being across the company.

Speaking of the project Maria said: “VolkerRail already has a very positive safety culture, which is reflected in their safety record. This projects aims to build on that by taking a step further in understanding the behaviours of and the environment in which staff work, in order to enhance and tailor safety strategies, initiatives, training, and the work environment.”

VolkerRail's HSQE director, Stuart Webster-Spriggs said: “VolkerRail is committed to finding new ways to help improve workforce safety. This new collaborative approach, based on factual evidence, will help give a true understanding of people’s behaviours and provide us with the perfect opportunity to identify behavioural aspects in decision-making and the measures needed to ensure the correct attitudes are realised and adopted, before an accident/incident occurs.

“VolkerRail and Leeds Beckett University have already shared this concept through the International Rail Human Factors conference and a dedicated session to members of the Infrastructure Safety Liaison Group, which generated a great deal of interest. The outcomes of this project will be further shared as its successes are realised."