Is safety the real winner?

The 2014 Formula One (F1) championship enters one of the most eagerly awaited title-deciding run-ins in the history of the sport. Will it be Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton? COME ON LEWIS!

The same can be said of the Aviva Rugby Premiership. With the Rugby World Cup taking place in England next year, the players will be keen to make an impression this season.

And let’s not forget horse racing, with the British Jump Jockey championship decided in April 2015, there's still plenty to race for as we reach the half-way point of the season.

Safety = Success

There are many factors as to why the above teams and riders will have a successful season. One of those factors will undoubtedly be safety.

How much of a priority is safety in these sports? This blog explores (and to a degree speculates) as to the amount of work that has gone into promoting safer behaviours within these sports, how that message has been communicated throughout the teams and how safety plays a critcal role in the successes these teams and jockeys will have this season.

You may be thinking, what has this blog got to do with recruitment and the Rail, Power and Built Environment sectors? It's safety! It is the one thing we have in common with these highly regulated sports.

The purpose of the blog is to illustrate these sports' respective commitments to safety and how they have successfully embraced behaviour based safety (BBS) or behavioural change both on and off the 'field of play'.

BBS is gaining more interest across industry sectors globally and has the added advantage of requiring the involvement of each and every employee. 

A sport whose success is based on its commitment to safety

These sports are no different to many other successful companies and how they are run. Their leaders, senior managers, frontline staff, the company culture and their values all play a part in the business’s successes.

These sports have embraced safety which is linked to their respective cultures and values. The F1 cars have higher sides around the cockpit, a rugby scrum follows a very specific set of rules and the Jockey Club has invested heavily in the Jockey Health Information System, a central database that stores jockey's current medical records.

Safety has improved dramatically over the years, from deaths being common place during the Hunt/Lauda days, the last death in F1 being Ayton Senna in May 1994. Sadly, 20 years on Jules Bianchi, a F1 driver was seriously injured at the Japanese grand prix on the 5th October 2014.

Whilst any accident is deeply upsetting, the fact Mr Bianchi stands a chance of making a recovery after such an horrific accident and why Felipe Massa is still driving after his accident in July 2009 could be both down to the improvements made to F1 safety measures following Ayton Senna's untimely death.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has drawn up plans involving a number of initiatives, involving players and coaches to help reduce cases of concussion. Whilst it is even rarer to hear of a rugby player being killed or seriously hurt during a rugby game, the RFU are clearly taking no chances. 

A RFU course that all registered professional players, coaches and referees must now complete, aims to improve the understanding of concussion and the expected behaviours required from all concerned. The RFU’s Recognise, Remove, Recover, Return message seems to have had the desired effect.

For many safety is a given, but it is not what the fans pay to watch. However, it is the changes in all F1, rugby and jockey personnel behaviours that makes these sports even more exhilarating today. With greater confidence in the sports teaching and commitment to safety, it would seem that there is now less fear of injury, so it seems. Equally, world class sports men and women are able to perform at the highest level, giving it their all, without any inhibitions and achieving even greater success as a result.

Who said safety was boring?

Total safety culture

The rail sector echoes these behaviours of the F1, rugby and horse racing communities. Behavioural change has been a mainstay for the main rail contractors for the best part of the last two years.

Dorian Colling, Behaviour Change Manager at Volker Fitzpatrick believes their behavioural change strategy has paid dividends not only in terms of the reduction in serious accidents or incidents but also in creating a culture that delivers quality and productivity.

“Our behavioural change programme framework that we developed two years ago has seen serious accident/incidents reduced dramatically. Whilst the number of reportable accidents (Accident Frequency Rate or AFR) has seen a decrease from 0.52 to 0.03, Volker Fitzpatrick is determined to achieve a ZERO accident/incident rate.

“By having the right plan, attitude, leadership team and commitment in place, the results in many ways were no surprise to us.

“We also saw the number of our work force hours increase through new business wins and organic growth. Safety really does promote success and attract new business too.

“As a passionate fan of Welsh rugby, I’ve noticed how rugby players have embraced behavioural change very quickly. With change playing an intrinsic part in the relatively short career of a rugby player, there is far less resistance to a process that aims to protect their health and safety and general well being."

Behavioural Change Guide Front Cover

Observe what they do, when they have freedom to choose

F1 drivers know not to drive at 100% out of the blocks due to cold tyres and brakes. Rugby players know not to tackle around the neck and jockeys have learnt to roll to the side and curl up if they become unseated. These are all learnt behaviours, through careful coaching and mentoring.

Resourcing Solutions has put together a short guide to help you benchmark your current behavioural change programme against. Equally, you may be responsible for putting together or improving your current behavioural change programme. Our guide will help you to evaluate your current behavioural based safety plan and how it could be improved.

At Resourcing Solutions, we give our candidates access to health and safety jobs with companies who work across the Rail, Power Networks and Built Environment sectors. For any Compliance related enquiries arising from this blog, please contact Matt Traynor (

This entry was posted on 5th November 2014. It was filed under the Health & Safety, categories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. What's RSS?.