miercuri, 28 august 2013

8D- a method for solving safety problems ?

8D is a good management method in order to solve problems. It could also be applied in Safety ? The answer is yes- having a lot to give in mitigating and managing  occupational risks.

If you click the next link you could find a brief presentation of 8D done last year by me. Please comment.
8 D

duminică, 25 august 2013

E-learning compliance- new ways to do it.


E-learning would be, if used properly, not only an instrument for learning in the XXI century but also a basis for innovative learning developments. The knowledge based society could be constructed only on the bricks of efficient, out of the box, borderline learning processes.
Task oriented, objective oriented knowledge structured in order to perform educational purposes, called also eduknowledge could be the frontline for actual e-learning, mainly regarding learning of specific good practices in industry. Essentially eduknowledge is a knowledge, learning oriented, management tool.
One of the main challenges regarding e-learning is represented by knowledge, more exactly by:
-the usage of the existing knowledge (already available on the Internet and/or stored on the PROMIS platform);
-capture of new knowledge, mainly resulting from personal experience of the learner, assessment of such knowledge and if valuable, including this experience knowledge into the e-learning (eduknowledge) chunks as best practice procedures or case studies;
The e-challenge addressed mainly in this paper is to develop, improve and orient e-learning specific processes and instruments in order to achieve the implementation of awareness and commitment of compliance notions into SME, so that such a trained SME could boost around a perfectionist organizational and safety culture and became a seed for other SME in the same economic activity or in other domains.


The main objective of the paper is to show new  research regarding the tailoring and optimization of e-learning structures called eduknowledge in  efficiently learning compliance (and developing a compliance oriented culture) into SME. This e-learning effort is done working on the basis of a SME knowledge oriented platform called PROMIS, platform that could integrate and use in the most efficient way such instruments for e-learning, assuring sharing processes for knowledge (and specially compliance oriented knowledge) among SME. An efficient educational process is based upon knowledge and not information. It is possible to separate distinctly data, information and knowledge into an e-learning process, as follows:
• Data- a property of things (discrimination between physical states);
• Information- the subset of the data that resides in things and activates an agent- being filtered from the data by the agent’s perceptual or conceptual apparatus;
• Knowledge- a property of agents predisposing them to act in particular circumstances;
So, knowledge is connected directly with action. Knowledge evolves dynamically, being changed in the action process. Continuous learning is based upon the dynamically progress of knowledge. The e-challenge here is to create chunks of knowledge that could be efficiently used, without being boring for the learner and also without being too complicated for a SME that has just general IT knowledge.
Other objectives of the paper are:
  • to explain that in a rapid and continuous changing world, SME managers have a lot of difficult choices to do daily in order to be compliant with the national and European rules and regulations and not just only on the paper but by using this compliance as an engine towards future durable development;
  • to show that compliance could be obtained most efficiently through a mixed process of learning and using knowledge based tools as PROMIS;
  • to explain that using the eduknowledge concept, chunks of e-learning structures could be used most efficiently in order to imprint the main compliance notions in SME management and also other personnel and to make them understand how they can use compliance into their own interest.


The main used methodology is educational design, adapted for the e-learning area. Some knowledge intensive discover methodologies are also used in order to improve the solution and make it more user friendly.
The methodology is based on three pillars:
-Educational ontologies (for quality, health and safety and environment) – used to obtain an integrated static learning framework and to integrate existing and available knowledge into contextual instances of this framework;
-Eduknowledge objects – in order to improve and develop knowledge management on new horizons related to compliance aspects (for example compliance with new and emergent risks requirements)
-Development of semantic enriched relationships between learning objects – in order to improve the community (of SME) sharing and reusing eduknowledge learning objects
A very important aspect of the methodological approach is represented by knowledge elicitation It involves obtaining knowledge from a human expert (or human experts) into compliance assurance in order to use this knowledge in practical compliance implementation and maintenance at the SME level..
The knowledge elicitation  (and analysis) task involves:
-Finding at least one expert in the specific compliance domain which :
= is willing to provide his/her knowledge;
-has the time to provide his/her knowledge;
- is able to provide his/her knowledge.;
-Repeated interviews with the expert(s), plus task analysis, concept sorting,etc,
-Knowledge structuring: converting the raw data (t compliance practical aspects) into intermediate representations  prior to building a working e-learning system. This will improve the knowledge engineer’s understanding of the subject;
-Building a model of the knowledge derived from the expert, for other experts to comment and improve. From then on, the development proceeds by stepwise refinement.

The methodological development based on the voice of customer is represented in the next figure.

Figure 1 The methodological development

Eduknowledge is presented and analysed systematically around a business case involving compliance with ISO 31.000 as the best example for safety developments. The main eduknowledge structures, like those presented below are described in detail:
• The eduknowledge start-up booster- which gives details regarding the specific eduknowledge chunk and also acts as a user-friendly interface ;
• The preliminary examples- which are introducing learners  in the specific domain of compliance;
• The basic chunk of knowledge that gives the ways to perform the specific task for which the eduknowledge was built (for example, a specific eduknowledge is oriented towards the design and development of a compliance based culture inside a SME- this basic chunk of knowledge is a step-by-step procedure for development this culture from scratch);
• How to do (HTD) knowledge- which shows how to perform specific tasks  related to the main task (for example, an efficient culture  uses  all available data from databases or other sources - as the eduknowledge is centred around efficiently building the compliance culture ,one of HTD  is centred around the development of data framework that could sustain this culture)
• Maintenance (M) knowledge- which has the role to help in solving specific problems that could appear during the task performance (for example, maintenance knowledge gives the solutions for tracking and debugging the inference process required by the continuous culture improvement)
• Examples and case studies- are used in order to give the learning person the possibility to see in practice the applications of the knowledge
• Dissemination mechanism- the tutorial mechanism used to train the learning person;
• Feedback mechanism- the mechanism used to take the feedback from the SME together with the individuals involved in e-learning  and uses it to adapt accordingly the tutorial process

Brief Conclusions

The business case is used in conjunction with a specific  structure called pyramid in order to give SME the best instrument in order to understand, learn and imprint inside their people compliance as a future  continuous growth instrument. Having   a multilingual tool could only help  various national SME in order to collaborate and share together experience and moreover experience focused into lessons learned. A SME gains time and money using such knowledge and not re-inventing them from scratch. Knowledge issued from the new European Union states could be helpful into regional cooperation and development but could also be the start-up of development of a knowledge based network of lessons learned in the domains of quality, health and safety and environment protection  on the basis of PROMIS platform across all the European Union. 

sâmbătă, 24 august 2013

Research to improve the efficiency of the safety training-2


Tactical design is focused on the overall internal structure of the educational product (e.g. a multi-year set of teaching materials; a year’s assessment; a professional development package). Typically it involves such things as:
=Specification of core design principles, selected in the light of prior research on learning, teaching, and/or professional development trajectories – or, too often, just marketing;
=Selection of specific learning and performance goals, including strands of progression;
=Specifying sequences and cross-connections within the materials, balancing linear coherence with diverse multiple connections (among concepts and contexts, standard results to learn and open investigations to experience).

Tactical tools- scaffolding and sequencing

Like its namesake in the construction industry, scaffolding in education is a temporary support mechanism. Students receive assistance early on to complete tasks, then as their proficiency increases, that support is gradually removed. In this fashion the student takes on more and more responsibility for their own learning.

There are eight characteristics of web-based educational scaffolding:

Scaffolding provides clear directions
Step-by-step instructions are necessary to let students know what they need to accomplish to successfully meet the requirements of the task. Care should be taken by designers so that instructions produce as little confusion for students as possible.
Scaffolding clarifies purpose
The objective of the activity is made clear at the outset and a "big-picture" point of view dominates in each individual activity.
Scaffolding keeps student on task
The structure provided helps keep students from getting distracted and "wandering off."
Scaffolding offers assessment to clarify expectations
Rubrics and standards of performance are defined up front. This avoids confusion about what will be assessed at the end of an activity.
Scaffolding points students to worthy sources
Scaffolding can reduce wasted time and keep students on task because faculty can identify "quality" sources on the web for students to use. Depending on the instructor, this list of sites could be exclusive or simply a starting point for further digging.
Scaffolding reduces uncertainty, surprise and disappointment
All distracting frustrations with site design should be eliminated.
Scaffolding delivers efficiency
By eliminating boredom and irrelevance, scaffolding grants a sense that a larger amount of work can be completed in a shorter time.
Scaffolding creates momentum
Rather than dissipating, the energy and focus of the class is channeled and concentrated. This accumulation of insight and understanding becomes a driving force for further study and research.

Strategic design, is concerned with the overall structure of the educational product set and how it will relate to the inner workplace user-system. It applies in different forms to most of the products and processes that educational designers tackle: curriculum specifications; assessment; teaching materials; professional development processes and materials; building system capacity in various ways. Typically strategic design involves not simply the end-users (e.g. teachers and their students) but all the key communities involved who will affect decisions on the framework within which the users work – school leadership; school system leadership; politicians; parents; and various other professions, such as assessment designers and researchers.
Strategic design includes such things as:
=Identifying a specific opportunity for improvement;
=Selecting a set of improvement goals;
=Designing the overall structure of a set of tools that can forward them;
=Choosing or designing a model of change (whether, for example, comprehensive or more specific; one-step or gradual; curriculum-led, assessment-led, or professional development led) along with the phases, pacing and timing of implementation;
=Identifying the resources that are needed to do the job well (how much design effort, trialling, implementation support, and of what kinds), and the compromises that are acceptable;
=Recognizing and questioning constraints from the client’s grand strategy (generic performance goals; alignment; model of change; top-down v proposal driven); and
=Advising the client on the likely implications of their various decisions, including their likely unintended consequences and uncertainties – and suggesting changes.

Strategic design principles

Some of the most significant strategic design principles are underlined below:
System awareness: Seek to understand the dynamics of the system to improve, in all its interacting parts, and use it to guide the strategic design of the innovation.
Realism: Study the system as it is, not as it is intended to be, and the forces that shape decisions and actions of all the key groups, from politicians, parents and the media to teachers and their students; don’t assume resources that have not been available without valid assurances that they will be.
Targeting: Be clear and specific about improvement aims, and the groups of users you are designing for – development should reconcile the goals and outcomes for those groups.
Alignment: Try to ensure that the set of tools and processes you develop form a coherent whole, in themselves and in interaction with the rest of the system – all the key players should be aware and “on board”.
Robustness and flexibility: Since unexpected shocks to your plans are inevitable, try to design the set of tools and processes so that various elements can function independently in a range of contexts of use.
Consensus building: Seek consensus on goals and entailments prior to design and throughout the development process – a profession that speaks with one voice has more influence on policy than one where diverse opinions reach policy makers. Consensus does not just happen; it often needs to be built through explicitly designed processes.
Communication and marketing: Be aware that any large-scale impact of your work will be influenced by the public, guided by the media. Improve your communication skills with these groups, and your network of contacts.
Space for excellence in tactical and technical design: Work to retain as much space as possible for the creative talents in your design team, and the systematic development that refines the products – good strategic design is worthless without them.
“We must educate our masters”: Seek to make policy makers, funders, and designers aware of the crucial role strategic design will play in the success of the enterprise in turning its goals into large-scale impact.
Big challenges need big teams: The range of skills needed to carry through a design and development program, with high-quality in all its aspects, needs to be reflected in the design team – often, particularly for large scale developments, only a multidisciplinary team can understand and work with the various communities that will interact with the product.

Improving strategic design

Long term goals

Recognition by policy makers that education can and should become a research-based field, like health and safety  where:
  • Insight-focused analytic research on working systems is the best route to diagnosis of problems and their likely causes;
  • A long term agenda for improvement is complemented, as in other fields, by a regularly-reviewed sequence of steps along the way with sensible timescales;
  • Good engineering, integrating insights from prior research and development, design research, systematic development and evaluation in depth, will produce the most effective solutions;
  • Strategic design of their initiatives should be as professional as the tactical and technical design already (sometimes) are, using the same methodology; and
  • Much better evaluation of products and initiatives in education, covering in some depth both the various outcomes and the conditions under which they were achieved.
For this it is needed:
  • More researchers choosing projects and using methodologies that provide the in-depth evaluative evidence that policy makers need on products and processes that are widely available, yielding reliable evidence on “what works, how well, under what circumstances”; and
  • More people trained in engineering research methods to design and develop robust solutions.
The master will emulate science education in developing:
  • Effective machinery for building a consensus on what is needed, and the steps along that road, leading to;
  • Unified recommendations for innovation that reflect government realities.

Medium term goals

Recognition by policy makers that (as in health care, for example):
  • High-stakes targets (i.e. tests) for (teachers and schools) can distort priorities, ensuring that the implemented curriculum in most classrooms is no better than what is tested. The good news is the substantial evidence that better tests can be an effective lever for improvement.
  • What is achievable within the timescale required and resources available is:
    • An empirical question that can only be reliably answered by imaginative design, systematic development and evaluation in some depth;
    • Usually much less than is desirable – or is promised by “experts” who are keen to please government but have no valid evidence for what they recommend; and
    • Will require funding with at least a few–year timescale, involving competitive design groups and independent evaluation with agreed criteria and methodologies (c.f. NICE in health care).
    • After so many failures from “obviously needed” reforms, there is political capital to be gained from a sensible research-based approach.

Short term actions

Over the next year or two, there must be a move to strengthen the case for the above goals by:
  • Identifying examples of successful design, then studying the various aspects of their strategic design in some depth, and in comparison with parallel innovations where these are available;
  • Identifying, and specifying in some detail, alternative models of change, analyzing their key features and the expected cost-benefit analysis;
  • Refining and strengthening evidence of payoff from giving medium-term support to high-quality design teams with proven track records in well-defined areas; and
  • Developing effective channels for communication and influence on policy makers.


Critical thinking is a very delicate problem especially in Health and Safety. Old and outdated solutions, yet in place must be upgraded, wrong decisions taken by managers must be corrected. Critical thinking is vital for a Health and Safety practitioner, at every level, more on a post-graduate one.
Education research has demonstrated what great educators have always known: students acquire and retain knowledge most effectively when they must understand new information well enough to apply it to new situations, or to reformulate it into new ideas and knowledge. Fostering critical thinking skills is becoming one of the chief goals of education, particularly at the post-graduate  level, where a variety of pedagogic techniques are being used to develop critical thinking skills in students.
These skills are often developed in health and safety students through project-based learning, in laboratory or field settings. In single laboratories or longer-term projects, students are asked to acquire basic knowledge and understanding, review literature, develop research skills, gather, analyze, and evaluate data, and ultimately to synthesize this complex information into an advanced understanding.
It is important that web resources developed for educational use reinforce this kind of learning. Many resources simply display information on pages with the only student interaction being a click on the "next" or "previous" buttons. Even if these pages are nested in cutting edge technology, these experiences are analogous to lectures which have been shown to fail in teaching advanced thinking skills There are four fundamental features of natural human learning: Learning is goal-directed, learning is failure-driven, learning is case-based, and learning best occurs by doing.
 Critical thinking is a complex idea. It can mean many different things to different people depending on their point of view. In Health and Safety critical thinking means also to sustain the own critical opinions and to argument correspondingly them with facts.



The main strategic requirements from a  H&S post-graduate or master  program, in our opinion, are presented in the table below.
Main strategic requirement
To be able to develop and implement in his own enterprise or at a third party a risk assessment system
Risk assessment is one of the first steps in H&S
To be able to develop and implement an efficient safety culture at the workplace
The competence to implement commitment to safety by employees and employers
To be able to develop and implement safety best practice procedures in his/hers own domain of expertise

To be able to develop and implement  a functional  risk/safety management system
The essential goal of the masteral program
To be able to develop and implement a functional occupational health management system
If required in the masteral program.Generally, occupational health is approached by work medicine or hygiene post-graduate programs
To be able to develop and implement a functional  work environment management system
If required by the masteral program. Some of the programs have an environment component, others have just the safety and health component.


Tactical requirements are presented in the table below, together with the strategic requirements from which they are derived.

Main strategic requirement
Main tactical requirements

To be able to develop and implement in his own enterprise or at a third party a risk assessment system
To identify known risks
To identify new and emergent risks
To be able to evaluate risk probability using statistical data;
To be able to evaluate risk gravity (severity) and location of injuries;
To be able to develop and interpret risk based scenarios;

To be able to develop and implement an efficient safety culture at the workplace
To identify safety culture actual state;
To identify safety culture gaps;
To be able to develop safety culture materials (leaflets, newsletters, training manuals, etc.);
To be able to imprint safety commitment to employees and employers;
To assure the horizontal cooperation in safety between employees and the vertical cooperation between employees and various management levels (to the top management)

To be able to develop and implement safety best practice procedures in his/hers own domain of expertise
To be able to identify workplace safety problems
To be able to search and find or develop efficient solutions to these problems
To be able to sequence and explain these solutions in succesive, logical steps

To be able to develop and implement  a functional  risk/safety management system
To be able to identify the curent state (or the inexistence) of the risk management system inside the enterprise
To be able to check the gaps in the risk management system
To be able to check the efficiency of the existing risk management system;
To be able to design/redesign a functional risk management system for a workplace/multiple workplaces/the enterprise
To be able to develop/re-develop a functional risk management system together with all its procedures and documentation
To be able to implement at the enterprise level  the developed/re-developed management system;
To be able to certify the risk management system by the recognized standards (ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001)

To be able to develop and implement a functional occupational health management system
To be able to identify the curent state (or the inexistence) of the occupational health  management system inside the enterprise
To be able to check the gaps in the occupational health management system
To be able to check the efficiency of the existing occupational health management system;
To be able to design/redesign a functional occupational health management system for a workplace/multiple workplaces/the enterprise
To be able to develop/re-develop a functional occupational health management system together with all its procedures and documentation
To be able to implement at the enterprise level  the developed/re-developed  occupational health management system;
To be able to certify the occupational health management system by the recognized standards (ISO 9001 , OHSAS 18001  and others)

To be able to develop and implement a functional  work environment management system
To be able to identify environmental possible problems from the design stage of the process/activity;
To be able to design/redesign a functional work environment  management system for a workplace/multiple workplaces/the enterprise
To be able to develop/re-develop a functional work environment management system together with all its procedures and documentation
To be able to implement at the enterprise level  the developed/re-developed  work environment management system;
To be able to certify the work environment management system by the recognized standards (ISO 9001 , OHSAS 18001  and others)

Research to improve the efficiency of the safety training-1


This paper is a short resumee  of a  material developed for iNTegRisk- with the title ”Research regarding an efficient framework for the development and the dissemination for Specialist Courses for Romanian learrners” including author  views regarding the design, development and testing of such an e-learning prototype.
Educational design will be the main tool for conception and design.
It offers:
-An approach that seeks to enrich the learning experiences of all students
-A collaborative and consultative process that facilitates the development of curriculum development at the program and course level
-A process to extend  existing teaching approaches and further develop your teaching expertise
-A process of reviewing or revising existing courses.
Using Educational Design means:
-Diversifying the  approach to teaching through planning, facilitating, assessing and evaluating student learning
-Supporting the course design through development of learning objectives, graduate attributes, learning activities and assessment tasks
-Focusing on student needs and developing strategies to respond effectively to them
-Building interesting and varied learning resources
-Incorporating educational media and communications technologies in the learning environment
-Identifying and manage goal setting and timelines for course development or review
-Locating experts who can assist with other specific needs by introducing to other education and development professionals
-Collaborating in educational research projects
-Encouraging ongoing reflective practice and professional development
-Expanding understanding of educational principles and practice


The main identified problems are:

  • The general Health and Safety concepts in Romania- at the Competent Authority and also at the specialists level are yet more or less tributary to the former Soviet theory regarding Health and Safety as distinct components in the work process. We are not familiarized yet with- for example- process safety as distinct from the general occupational safety concepts.
  • The interface of the course must be familiar with Romanian expectations.


A masteral program in Health and Safety could be an objective by itself in development and mantaining. At this moment, there are a lot of masteral programs in H&S in Romania that are offering essentially the same competencies- and these competencies are not exactly what a would be user is expecting from such a program. The main deficiencis of Romanian masteral programs in H&S are listed below in the table 1.

Table 1
Weak point (deficiency)
Masteral programs in H&S have no specific goals
All the analysed programs have a degree of generality that is of no help for the future students
Masteral programs in H&S are centered too much arround legislation
Safety legislation is continously changing. In this respect to focus too much on the existing legislation would ensure competencies to assure conformity with legislation but not wider knowledge.
Masteral programs in H&S are not teaching risk identification and risk evaluation
One of the first steps of H&S practice is risk assessment. Even well known methods as Hazop are not studied as needed.
Masteral programs in H&S are not teaching risk management
The ALARP concept is virtually not known; also, modern management methods are not studied.
Masteral programs in H&S are not oriented towards the development of a safety culture , not for the future masters nor for their employees
The colaborative approach based on safety culture is not much used.
Masteral programs in H&S are based too much on theory
Research in H&S at Romanian level is inerently limited. Instead of being centered on practice and solving specific problems the masteral courses are very theory oriented; after graduating, the master had a lot of  theoretical knowledge but could solve very few health and safety problems at workplace
Masteral programs in H&S are not teaching efficient occupational accident analysis methods
The analysis of occupational accidents could offer invaluable experience. This experience is not available for the future masters that are not working in Labor Inspection. Occupational accident analysis is treated as a non-important matter
Masteral programs in H&S are not including economic aspects
The theoretical approach at this moment at the Romanian level is that H&S is dealing exclusively with occupational accidents; loss problem is neglected
Masteral programs in H&S are not using European and international knowledge
Developments at European and international level are not well known; if known and not entered in the common practice of the Labor Inspection or of the safety experts inside the enterprise these developments are generally ignored. New concepts are very difficult to implement because they are not taught, understood and there is no commitment for them.
Masteral programs in H&S are ignoring field knowledge and experience
There is a lot of field experience and empiric knowledge developed in the form of best practice procedures- that is not used.
There is no cooperation between H&S masteral programs from different universities
In this respect, a lot of content is just taken from outer resources if considered as fit for masteral programs
There is no integration between H&S masteral programs and engineering or management post-universitary programs
H&S is generally an isolated specialisation, not being linked either with engineering practice or with management post-graduate courses
There is no space for future implementation inside the enterprise for H&S developed competencies
With a few exceptions (generally multinational companies)


Communities of practice(CoP) have a positive impact on the development, commitment and
general well-being of learners, especially at post-graduate levels.A positive approach towards the development and continous upgrading of a H&S masteral program would be
committed to identifying existing communities of practice and seeding and supporting new
ones. The aim is to develop communities of practice that enable authentic and
contextualised experiences of professional learning – about teaching and learning – in ways
that help university teachers encounter, explore and enact innovative practice relevant to
their specific teaching and learning contexts.
The development of a teaching community must be organic, in the sense that it very much
depends on what suits those who want to form the CoP. Some CoPs are developed primarily
through face to face contact, some are virtual communities and some are both.The ideal masteral H&S CoP  would include face to face contact and also virtual communities. The idea is to provide all interested staff with the opportunity to engage with a community in a way that meets their needs and fits with other commitments. This includes regular teaching fora, where staff can meet to discuss particular areas of concern or interest, such as
e-learning, internationalising the curriculum, and so on. These meetings could provide both
the seed and the nourishment for the community to flourish. From these, there could also be
• Collaborative research or development projects
• A repository of good practice materials and case studies
• A network of peer support or mentoring.
The meta-Community of Practice (meta-CoP) is open to all the stakeholders (tutors, students, etc.)  who facilitate communities of practice, or are interested in doing so.
The meta-CoP:
-supports the development of CoP facilitation skills
-provides a reflective space for evaluation, action research and theoretical development, and publications related to CoPs
-supports the continuing development of CoPs as an integral component of staff development
-supports and develops participants’ knowledge and skills through a blended model of engagement, meeting face-to-face up to ten times a year and maintaining a virtual presence all year