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Big Bad Things Workshop

Please email your expression of interest


Many organisations have become very effective at managing 'conventional' health & safety issues, driving down the high frequency, lower consequence occupational safety events, such as slips, trips and falls within their businesses. However, effective performance at managing these events does not necessarily correlate to the prevention of high-consequence / low frequency catastrophic events, which by their nature tend to be harder to predict and often involve complex, interconnected systems failure. Our experience is that time-poor managers within organisations often focus heavily on occupational safety at the expense of preventing and mitigating catastrophic event scenarios.

Big Bad Things

The interactive design of our workshop allows organisations to make real progress in developing an organisational risk profile and risk management strategy on the day. Action planning ensures that next steps are identified by the end of the workshop.

This one day 'hands on' workshop is designed to be delivered at the HSE Science and Research Centre as an in-company course; it can also be delivered at the customer's site. The nature of the workshop is that it allows delegates to focus on their own site during all of the exercises to allow real insight to be gained.

HSE - through its Buxton based Science and Research Centre - has over 100 years' experience of industrial incident investigation.  During this time, its experts have analysed the immediate and root causes of many thousands of incidents including events at chemical plants, industrial manufacturing plants, oil refineries, blast furnaces and rail crashes.  Our specialists have real world experience in understanding catastrophic events and their precursor which is continually refined in the light of research and lessons learned from incident investigation. One of our strengths is in the integration of multidisciplinary teams of specialists who have both the breadth and depth of knowledge to turn our learning into pragmatic, evidence-based advice. For example, we have studied those organisations/sectors with a long track record of preventing catastrophic events and have undertaken research to understand the features of these corporations - termed "High Reliability Organisations" (HROs) and their leadership teams.

The course will cover:

  • A pre-course exercise based on a real incident case study enabling you to identify the challenges associated with preventing Big, Bad Things at your site. This will also allow us to tailor the course to the specific plant and activities at your sites.
  • Session 1 - expanding on the challenges of managing potentially catastrophic risks and lessons from the major hazard sector as to what 'good' looks like. This session culminates in you producing a written risk picture for your site.
  • Session 2 - an opportunity to look in detail at a particular scenario at your site and identify hidden mechanisms of failure and codify prevention and mitigation barriers graphically.
  • Session 3 - an interactive training session led by a Human Factors specialist aimed at getting you to understand the challenges of human interaction with engineered plant and how to influence positive outcomes.
  • Session 4 - building on your risk picture and scenario analysis to refine a bow-tie diagram showing barriers and using this to understand controls. This will include barrier vulnerability, links to management systems and the effectiveness or otherwise of existing site initiatives and performance metrics. This  session culminates with an action planning exercise.

The course aims to ensure that you and your team can develop proportionate, intelligent and targeted risk management strategies which work for their site and stop carrying out activities which add minimal value to control of risk. The course is delivered by former HSE Inspectors with extensive experience in managing major accident hazards and a Human Factors professional.

Who should attend?

The workshop is designed for corporate teams with responsibility for risk management. These teams often include managers, technical specialists, operations, maintenance and safety professionals who are aware that catastrophic events will impact on asset management, business continuity and company reputations but need support in developing an appropriate risk management strategy.


Please email for a quotation.

Comments & Feedback
"I'd be very likely to recommend the course as an overview to what actions could be taken to consider and ultimately avoid BBT."
John Ellis, Celsa Steel 




Please note that all courses must be paid for via credit card at the time of booking.

For further dates and additional information email: or contact the Training and Events Team at HSE directly on +44 (0)203 028 3704.

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