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What does the world know about safety?

Our Foresight Review on global safety evidence explores the current data we have, how those data sets are used and what the trends and challenges are for the future evidence base for safety.

At an individual level, nothing is more important or emotive than our safety; our ability to keep ourselves and our loved ones well and out of harm’s way. We need good data and intelligence on what causes harm – at a global, national, industry, community and individual level – to learn from safety failures and improve in the future. Excellent data is essential; each safety failure is an opportunity to know more to prevent future harm.

The Foundation’s latest Foresight Review addresses a subject close to our heart. Lloyd’s Register’s origins lie in the publication of global safety evidence. The Register of Ships was a trusted source of public information, informing stakeholders’ decisions. More than 260 years later we live in a global data age. Yet despite advances in data collection, reporting and analysis, there are still large knowledge gaps, especially in the poorest parts of the world. Improved data is required to make better decisions and target resources where they are most needed. Coupled with data gaps is a changing world: supply chains are increasingly complex, workers move between sectors and countries, and technology enables fresh ways of working. Different approaches in capturing safety data have strengths and weaknesses, with innovative data collection methods and analytical techniques offering new opportunities for safety and risk insights to help us understand, monitor and prevent harm.

There is much to be done if jobs around the world are to be safe and this review will shape what we do as a Foundation.

Dr Ruth Boumphrey

Director of Research, Lloyd’s Register Foundation

Beyond the complex and varied data landscape, our Foresight Review reveals wider considerations. Industries need to factor in the changing way in which decisions are made and the needs of the community for predictive indicators to prevent harm and not just record it. Our research also challenges the very definition of safety data and whether this should be more closely aligned to people’s health as the understanding of safety matures. Alongside tackling safety issues right now, there is a new opportunity to be more predictive, preventing potential problems happening later down the line.

The Foresight Review on global safety evidence was a partnership between the Foundation and the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE), being led by Professor Andrew Curran, Chief Scientific Adviser and Director of Research at HSE. It draws on an international range of experts from many sectors and with different perspectives through interviews and desk studies.

Recommendations from the Foundation’s Foresight Review
  • Use existing data sources to identify and communicate global safety priorities and opportunities to continuously improve and enrich available safety data and intelligence.
  • Identify evidence-based interventions and research that can be made by the Foundation, in collaboration with others, to improve world safety outcomes.
    Make global safety analysis and data accessible for public use.
  • Scope education and development programmes for the global community.
Sharing key findings
  • Data quality and reliability varies widely in systems generating data at government, sector and company level, with some countries lacking any functioning systems for health and safety data collection and disclosure
  • Non-safety specific data sets can provide a critical context for safety, such as GDP, the existence of regulatory and enforcement frameworks, transparency and the rigour of notification systems, investments in education and health outcomes.
  • Predictive (leading) indicators will have more impact than lagging indicators of health and safety performance, and improved data collection.
  • Health and safety and chronic disease should be considered together in seeking to understand and track leading indicators of safety.
  • The need to capture and understand data from weak signals, near misses and emerging patterns related to safety performance as well as intelligence from a smaller number of high impact, high profile catastrophes.
  • Unstructured data and new analytical techniques can help us identify a range of health and safety performance indicators.


Making a difference

How our strategy is changing perceptions

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