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Shared Research

"Working together to solve health and safety challenges"

HSE has a longstanding history of supporting science and research to address a range of cross-sector health and safety issues.

Venn Diagram: HSE Priorities, Individual Company Priorities and Industry Group Priorities all intersect for Shared Research

Building on this heritage, we provide a platform to identify and co-fund applied research projects that are of interest to both industry and regulatory bodies.

Contributing partners can help to shape the research activity and get exclusive early sight of the results, allowing them to improve their management of emerging H&S challenges in their business, assured of alignment with HSE priorities.

How does HSE's Shared Research work?

We run a number of research projects. Each project begins with a recognised gap in knowledge that HSE and industry stakeholders see a need to fill, to help us understand and ultimately better manage health and safety challenges.

We then invite regulatory, industry and other stakeholders to discuss the idea in more detail, and put together a research project that will help improve our collective understanding and knowledge. The project is led by HSE experts, often making use of the facilities provided by our Science and Research Centre in Buxton.

Industry and other stakeholders are then invited to contribute towards funding the research project. HSE also supports the projects financially. Typically, we will seek several sponsoring organisations to ensure we can undertake the best research to answer the H&S needs we've all identified.

How to get involved

For more information, please contact us at:


What topics do we research?

Current projects are detailed below. They are at different stages of maturity, but there are opportunities to co-sponsor and join all of them.

<UPDATED> 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 2019, HSE held a workshop in Aberdeen to discuss the options for shared research regarding optimising offshore working patterns.

Following this workshop, a programme of work has been developed that seeks to improve our understanding of the impact of different types of offshore working patterns on fatigue and associated health and safety performance by establishing a body of evidence relating to shift design, intershift recovery and fatigue risk management practices.

Funding partners for this programme of work are currently being sought.

Download the Optimising Offshore Working Patterns shared research technical work packages overview (PDF)

For further details, please contact Paul Grant -

<NEW> Remote Visual Inspection: Opportunities and Limitations

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.

Download the Remote Visual Inspection shared research workshop invitation (PDF)

Download Remote Visual Inspection shared research proposal (January 2019) (PDF)

To register your interest in attending the workshop please contact:

Christine Daws on 0203 0281898 or email

<NEW> 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.

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.

Through this joint research programme sponsors will be better placed to adopt appropriate wearables technology which can enable:

  • better monitoring of worker time spent in hazardous areas
  • better exposure prediction
  • better productivity
  • immediate feedback on efficiency of control measures
  • early detection of plant / equipment malfunction

Download the Wearables in the Workplace shared research proposal (PDF)

Contact us for more information about this project at

Further work towards area classification for oil mists (MISTS2)

Mists of high-flashpoint fluids such as hydraulic oils, lubricating oils, diesel and heavier fuels can ignite and produce explosions at temperatures below their flashpoints.

There is a legal requirement to consider hazardous area classification for flammable mists. Whilst area classification for explosive gases is well established, available guidance for flammable mists is limited, brief and largely qualitative when it comes to controls for such risks.

Following on from a successful joint research project on the formation and mitigation of flammable mists [MISTS1], this current project seeks to further develop our knowledge and understanding of the formation and mitigation of flammable mists.

The following key questions will be addressed:

  1. How should diesel mist be considered?
  2. How does the shape of defects causing loss of containment (cracks, holes etc.) affect the production of flammable mists?
  3. What is the extent of hazardous zones from flammable mists?
  4. How do mist explosions compare with vapour explosions?
  5. evidence for effective design solutions and their impact and value
  6. valuation and assurance of control and mitigation options in reducing exposures - with a potential to reduce 'extra' back up controls where they may not be necessary.
  7. innovative approaches. To explore new control technologies for: high risks; common tasks; extra functionality and new IT solutions.

Contact us for more information about this project at


Cobots - collaborative robots - are becoming a reality in modern workplaces.

Without the traditional robot separation measures of guarding, fences or cages, the close proximity and collaborative nature of human-cobot working offers new opportunities but also some risks that must be managed. This project will address the following key questions to enable uptake in a safe way, with due regard to health issues too:

  1. What does current good practice look like?
  2. What improvements would be beneficial to safety standards and guidance?
  3. How to implement cobots into work places without adversely affecting health?
  4. How to conduct a risk assessment for activities with collaborative robots?

Download the Cobots shared research proposal (PDF)

Contact us for more information about this project at

Corrosion of Bolted Flanged Joints

Corroded bolted flanged joints are widespread in offshore operations and establishing their condition and on-going integrity is important for safe and reliable operations.

Despite the prevalence of such joints, there is currently a lack of evidence based guidance on corrosion allowance and discard criteria for studs, bolts and nut assemblies.  As such, many operators have developed their own internal guidance and methods which can vary widely.

It is important that an accurate assessment of the condition of such assemblies can be made and that the remaining strength - and therefore likely remaining lifespan - can be estimated to allow better targeting of Risk Based Inspections.

Through an empirical testing programme, this project aims to provide an evidence base to underpin integrity decisions.  Benefits are expected to be safer, more reliable, efficient operations.

Download the Corrosion of Bolted Flanged Joints shared research proposal (PDF)

Contact us for more information about this project at

Upcoming projects

We're currently considering a number of other shared research projects in consultation with others. To find out more or to suggest project topics, please contact us at:

Download the Oil Mists shared research proposal (PDF)

Contact us for more information about this project at

Improving customer experience and safety when using escalators


Whilst most customer journeys involving escalators happen without incident, there are a number of fatal accidents known to have occurred in retail premises in recent years, and many more with less severe consequences.

Whilst there is a body of evidence published on safe and reliable user interaction with stairs, equivalent evidence is not available for escalators.

With a lack of evidence of user experience comes a lack of consistency, so there is no convention on what an easy to use escalator looks like.

Download the Escalators Safety shared research proposal (PDF)

Contact us for more information about this project at

Engineered Composite Repairs

As a consequence of asset ageing, the extent and use of engineered composite repairs has increased dramatically over recent years. It is now not uncommon to see examples on a range of both onshore and offshore structures, components and equipment. Such repairs present an attractive proposition both technically and financially. However, whilst in general the performance of such repairs has proven to be satisfactory, there continues to be uncertainty relating to their long-term integrity and performance.

Contact us for more information about this project at

Reducing Exposure to Harmful Dust in Construction

Exposure to harmful dust remains a significant challenge in the construction industry. While some improvements have been made, there is still scope for improving the health of workers and the reputation of the industry.

This project will provide further:

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