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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: shared.research@hse.gov.uk

What topics do we research?

<REGISTER INTEREST> Studying the Safety Critical Offshore Application of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic Engineered Composite Repairs (ECRs)

ECR2 image.PNG

In 2020 a Shared Research Project (ECR1) sponsored by HSE, operators and repair suppliers was completed. ECR1 focused on a number of key areas such as: quality assurance and integrity management; inspection; in-service performance; and human factors. This resulted in the release of an industry-leading Good Practice Guide.

Whilst ECR1 represented a significant step forward, both HSE and industry recognise that there are still knowledge gaps associated with the long-term integrity of composite repairs.

ECR2 will seek to build on the learnings of ECR1 through a detailed evaluation of recently decommissioned repairs from a safety critical application.

Download the project overview (PDF)

Contact us for more information about this project at shared.research@hse.gov.uk

<REGISTER INTEREST> 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 - paul.grant@hse.gov.uk

<IN PROGRESS> 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.


Contact us for more information about this project at shared.research@hse.gov.uk

<IN PROGRESS> 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.

Contact us for more information about this project at shared.research@hse.gov.uk

<IN PROGRESS> 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 shared.research@hse.gov.uk

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