Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

Author Bio ▼

Ian joined Informa (formerly UBM) in 2018 as the Editor of SHP. Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in business to business trade print media, in the automotive sector. He was Online Editor and then moved on to be the Editor of two publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.
May 30, 2018

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Accident Investigation

Making business and safety even better

SHP speaks to David Ramsay, Group Managing Director of Kelvin TOP-SET, about investigating incidents and consulting on business performance and safety problems. David will be speaking at Safety & Health Expo in June, where he will discuss how to identify ‘weak signals’ and ‘indicators’ and the benefits of information to an organisation.

David RamsayFounded in 1986, Kelvin TOP-SET’s background is in education, technical publishing, course delivery, software development and incident investigation services. The company specialises in three areas:

  • Teaching people all around the world how to investigate incidents and accidents.
  • Facilitating incidents in a wide range of industries such as rail, explosive, infrastructure and oil & gas. The company facilitated the Deepwater Horizon oil spill investigation in 2010 and has a vast experience in incident investigations, using the TOP-SET system developed by David.
  • Producing and selling software and apps.

The route the company is looking to take now is to go beyond investigation for incidents and focus more on ‘investigation for information’. The information gained can be used to improve the performance of a company, be it through quality control, HR, production and processing and of course health & safety.

David said: “It’s really about good management, if you are managing the company well, then you should not be having incidents.”

In order to do this, David speaks about a theme of ‘small changes’ and ‘weak signals’ and how it’s important to take notice of things that may seem irrelevant, but that can lead too to much more significant failures. David added: “It’s like going for a personal health check when you get a bit breathless. It might just be a cold but could be something more serious.”

“Relatively minor indicators can tell you a lot about people’s performance. For example are people wearing the correct protective equipment on site? If not, what does that tell you about the the whole company? Is there a significant underlying problem in other areas? This is an opportunity for deeper investigation,” David added.

“There are two aspects. One of which is moral, which hopefully everyone has already bought into, and the other is the legal aspect. The legal aspect is important, but for me it’s less important than the moral one. You want people to do things because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s going to land them in trouble if they don’t do it.”

David believes is it absolutely essential that incidents are investigated fully and correctly and that those investigations are done so with an open mind. It’s very easy to be swayed by bias or preconceptions and having a ‘child-like’ approach is also important. Never be afraid to ask that seeming daft question that you might otherwise be embarrassed to ask.

“You’ve got to drill right down as far as possible to find out what really was the cause of something. We talk a lot about root causes, the hidden factor that was behind it all. Why did it happen, what was the background to that? You can only solve the problem in the long term by finding out what was the deep root cause or the underlying problem that was causing it.” David concluded.

David’s talk ‘Making business and safety even better’ will take place in the Operational Excellence Theatre at Safety & Health Expo. You can see it at 10:45 on Tuesday 19 June and Thursday 21 June and at 11:30 on Wednesday 20 June.

Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS

Related Topics

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments