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UK HSE calls for partners in high hazard research programmes

17 September 2019

HSE’s Shared Research Programme supports external investment and collaboration in HSE’s research portfolio. This allows resources and expertise to be shared for the benefit of all. By supporting the shared research approach, contributing partners will be able to help shape the focus of the research activity, gain ongoing access to emerging findings and have early sight of draft outputs.

Shared research is commissioned and managed through an appropriate range of commercial relationships, depending on the scale of activity and involvement. These include:

Partnerships - long term relationships with individual clients, who share key organizational objectives with HSE and covering a large suite of work, addressing joint topics of concern over a number of years;

Programmes - centred on relevant cross-cutting themes, which impact both the regulator and regulated. Offered on a single or multi-client basis, programmes would run over a number of years and consist of a series of linked activities or projects around identified topic areas;

Projects - these have a defined aim and objectives, designed to address a specific research question in a clearly defined time frame. Projects would either be offered on an individual or multi-client basis; and

Research Club Memberships - these provide a mechanism to support smaller organisations and to increase the reach of the findings of research undertaken via the mechanisms described above as well as for the findings of HSE-specific research and HSE operational support activities.

For general enquiries, further information and to express interest in HSE’s Shared Research Programme contact:

Current opportunities:

Optimising Offshore Working Patterns

Over the past few years, shift rotas have changed significantly on the UK Continental Shelf and there is now more variation than ever in shift patterns and working arrangements.

However, the health and safety effects of longer offshore tours of duty have received very little attention or research. Given current industry shift pattern trends, there is a pressing need to address these gaps and develop an evidence base for further industry guidance.

In October, HSE will host a workshop to discuss the options for shared research regarding optimising offshore working patterns.

The workshop, to be held in Aberdeen, will provide a forum for discussing key knowledge gaps and identify opportunities for shared research to address them. The basis on which this research can be undertaken will be a key outcome of the meeting.

Remote Visual Inspection (RVI)

Visual inspection of tanks, vessels and pipework is a cornerstone of the examination process and is often the primary means of defect detection, sizing and diagnosis. Technology now makes replacing the direct human element of visual inspection possible, and remote visual imaging could be used to undertake these parts of the examination process. This is of particular interest in the high hazard industries, where intrusive human intervention, for example vessel entry, could be reduced.

The limitations of the technology have yet to be fully explored, and no meaningful comparison has yet been made with the established standards for visual inspection. Numerous variables and the impact they may have on defect and corrosion diagnosis, and hence integrity, have yet to be considered.

Wearable Technologies in the Workplace

There is growing evidence that wearable devices, equipped with positioning technologies coupled with sensors, may benefit health and safety in the workplace. The advancement of the Internet of Things has meant that many of these technologies are commonplace in helping improve workplace productivity.

Following an industry workshop, a programme of work has been developed which will endeavour to validate the use of the technologies for workplace health and safety and to help find solutions to the key issues and barriers to effective adoption of wearables in the workplace. Further funding partners for this programme of work are currently being sought.

Integrity of Corroded Bolted Flanged Joints on Offshore Installations

Corroded bolted flanged joints are widespread on the UKCS and establishing their condition and ongoing integrity is important for safe and reliable operations.

A shared research project is proposed, consisting of a series of distinct but interrelated work packages to provide an evidence base to underpin integrity decisions. Benefits are expected to be safer, more reliable, efficient operations.

Generation of Flammable Mists from High Flashpoint Fluids

Knowledge of flammable mists is still relatively limited in comparison to flammable gases. Following an initial phase of work, HSE would like to invite stakeholders to a workshop in early 2017 to discuss a potential HSE Shared Research Project to address some of the most important outstanding issues on this topic.

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