Article by Kristian Orispää

Safety research is a continuous effort to improve upon existing products, tools, materials, systems and equipment to ensure safe execution of a task. Enhancing safety measures is an area of constant focus for companies and regulators alike, as efforts are made to minimise accidents and risks in the workplace.

fire fighter putting out a fire.

According to Fredrik Holmqvist, Head of Property Risk Management Services, Denmark, “If Insurance is actively involved in safety-related research projects across the Nordics. Our research work can take the form of larger collaborations, working together with universities and test institutes such as the KLIMPEN project and the E-TOX project presented in this magazine.

It can also be more applied tests and research projects that we do together with our clients to advance their and our knowledge on a certain topic. We can also be invited to observe tests, as a partner for discussion, which the fire door test described in this magazine is a good example of. From time to time our clients reach out to us, to get our opinion about an emerging risk, a new technical solution and the like.

If we do not have well founded opinion on a specific subject, we can set up a joint research project to find the facts needed to support the decision making. The key is that we would like to be a partner in risk with our clients and the community at large.”

If Security Safety Centre in Hobøl

In Norway, the If Security Safety Centre in Hobøl offers courses in fire protection and fire prevention work. Among other things, the centre has courses in hot work as well as smoke-diving and is built adapted for injury loss prevention, learning and training. Our instructors have extensive experience and background and train some 3,500 course participants through valuable and exciting course days.

According to Anders Rørvik Ellingbø, Head of Property Risk Management Services, Norway, “We built and started the If Safety Centre many years ago in order to provide a service to our clients. The aim was to help them improve their loss prevention activities and awareness of fire hazards.

Over the years the centre has been used for everything from summits, client meetings, filmmaking, training facilities for public and client fire brigades and not least training for If clients and others.”

 August Ramsay Foundation

The August Ramsay Foundation promotes loss prevention in companies insured by If P& C Insurance Ltd (publ), branch in Finland, as well as raises awareness about practical and theoretical research within risk management, loss prevention and insurance. The Foundation was established in 1929 to honour

Mr August Ramsay, the first managing director of one of the predecessors of the Mutual Company Industrial Insurance.

To achieve its purpose the Foundation grants awards to persons and communities in Finland that have been taking part in the loss prevention work, e.g. saving property and lives through excellent performance during fire incidents, for example.

Graduate studies with a focus on property, business interruption and personnel safety commonly receive scholarships to support research and development, which have practical implications for loss prevention.

People at the heart of the task

At the centre of any task is the person executing it. Often, companies rely on their employees to alert supervisors of any safety concerns or issues, potential hazards that exist, for example, either in the work environment, the tools that are utilised or in the processes involved.

Despite careful planning, investments made into safer equipment and systems, one risk factor remains, the human conducting the task. Essentially, people must be able to identify hazards and risks they face in their work. More importantly, these issues need to be reported to supervisors and be thoroughly evaluated and removed.

Companies can work to manage preventable risks, such as mishandling sensitive information, through internal processes, guidelines and rules. These risks are tackled through active prevention, codes of conduct and monitoring of daily operations.

Rule-based risk management is not always the solution, so how can people locate the potential hazard areas and be prepared for nonpreventable accidents? As an example, external risks, such as a spreading pandemic, are difficult to prepare for.

People are both part of the problem, and part of the solution

Despite even the most meticulous safety measures and equipment, few companies e.g. in the aviation, restaurant or travel industry, considered a scenario where a pandemic would spread around the world. The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to impact business operations, the workforce and markets.

Risk Managers and Risk Engineers play an important role to assess and mitigate the potential hazards and risks companies are facing. If’s clients have access to risk management experts, where we work by your side to plan and prepare for the worst-case scenario.