Major hazards conference

Leading from the top: avoiding major incidents, 29 April 2008

The conference provided a forum for chief executives and industry leaders in the major hazards sector to discuss and share experiences on how top level commitment and leadership can make such a huge difference to securing the strong, positive health & safety cultures so important if major incidents are to be avoided.


  • heard how others have improved their health & safety and business performance through strong leadership
  • had the opportunity to make new contacts and gained new ideas to help ensure their organisation's focus is on effective control of its process safety risks.

Citing recent major incidents – such as, BP Texas City refinery, Buncefield and the THORP plant in Sellafield - regulatory bodies, TU and government ministers were able to challenge industry and discuss lessons learned. Particular emphasis was placed on seven key principles;

  • Leadership;
  • Process safety management taking place at all business levels;
  • Real and dynamic risk assessments;
  • Robust management of change approaches;
  • Sustainability;
  • Well trained and competent people; and
  • A learning organisation.

Delegates later took part in a number of workshops where their outcomes have been summarised and available as follows;

  • Process safety leadership
  • Leading and learning – building on experiences on peer review
  • Leadership and the STEPCHANGE initiative in the offshore industry
  • Equipping independent directors for their task in major hazards organisation

Further reading available at:

Institute of Directors Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland

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Updated 2021-01-15