Safety Grand Challenges: what’s the challenge?

Every day, millions of people around the world encounter situations in their daily lives where their safety is threatened. How can their safety be improved?

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is asking you to share your experiences of where safety is challenged. Identifying these challenges will enable Lloyd’s Register Foundation and wider society to promote solutions that increase safety.

LRF conference
13 -14 October 2016
Open consultations
November 2016
Research and scoping
January - March 2017
Foresight report
April 2017

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The Problem

We rely on critical infrastructure for many things including supply of water and energy, transportation, supply of food and disposal of waste. Our safety relies on these infrastructures supporting our needs; it follows that failure of critical infrastructure reduces our safety. The infrastructure is designed, operated and maintained by people; the safety of these people can be challenged when they interact with the infrastructure.

We’re launching a consultation with experts in industry and other stakeholders who can identify the grand challenges to safety which can be improved through innovation, research and education.

We need your help

Statistics can tell us a great deal about safety but they don’t tell us everything. Engaging with experts like you who understand where safety is challenged allows us to identify where we can have the biggest impact, helps us explore important but niche issues, and lets us learn from the brightest and most experienced people.

Here’s how you can help:

Your expertise will determine key priorities for action on safety which we will outline in the foresight paper to be published in spring 2017.



For this project we understand infrastructure in its broadest sense, not just roads and railway lines but also factories, ferries and communication systems.

Society depends on a web of complex systems that both supports lives and puts them at risk. Safeguarding people’s lives as they interact with this infrastructure is a complicated task that encompasses both technological improvements and behavioural change.

We’re interested in safety issues that arise from human error, technological failure and the way that infrastructure interacts with natural hazards.

Types of infrastructure

We’re interested in infrastructure on land, at sea and in the air.harbour-boat-sea-plane-80404



Industries that operate on land pose the majority of threats to safety in general due to the multitude of daily interactions occurring between technology, workers, and consumers.

Examples: Manufacturing, construction, transport, mining, automotive, food, rail and metro, healthcare, power.


Many of the most dangerous professions are at sea.

Examples: Oil and gas, shipping, marine, transport.


Industries that operate in the air have never been so safe, yet advances in technology, such as drones, present new safety issues.

Examples: Aviation, satellites, drones.


We want to improve the robustness of technology, so that technical failure is less of a threat. We want to improve the safety of people in the workplace. We want to reduce risks to the public.


 The technology

We’re interested in technical standards, safety precautions, and resilience of systems – so that technological systems don’t fail.

Example: How can tower cranes be redesigned to reduce the risk of collapse on construction sites?

 The workplace

We’re interested in how workers understand and adhere to standards, and whether the standards are appropriate for the context – so as to improve health and safety at work

Example: How can employers avoid complacency among their workers? How can workers ensure their employers’ safety standards are culturally appropriate?

The public

We’re interested in the public’s understanding of risks and dangers in using public space – and in how we can protect them from avoidable threats to their safety

Example: Does consumer understanding of safety need to be updated as technological advances alter how the public use infrastructure?


Risks to safety vary hugely by region of the world and by the income of the country.



How has economic development altered the discourse of safety?

Example: As technology has a bigger role, is there less margin for human error? How does technological advancement affect how we interact with technology – for instance robot/human interaction?


What safety issues are prevalent in emerging economies, like India?

Example: Which industries are prevalent and pose the greatest problems? How do international companies understand cultural differences in their safety practices?


How can recent decades’ improvement in safety in the developed world be brought to a developing world setting?

Examples: Should Western companies that outsource work to the developing world apply better safety standards in their factories? How can road safety in the developing world be improved?


Get involved by taking our short survey


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About Lloyd’s Register Foundation

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation is a UK charity established in 2012. With our mission to enhance the safety of life and property, and to advance transport and engineering education and research, the Foundation has an important role to play in meeting the challenges of today and the future.

Our vision is to be known worldwide as a leading supporter of engineering-related research, training and education that makes a real difference in improving the safety of the critical infrastructure on which modern society relies. In support of this, we promote scientific excellence and act as a catalyst working with others to achieve maximum impact.

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About Challenge Prize Centre

We are a hub of expertise on challenge prizes. The Centre was established to increase practical evidence and understanding about challenge prizes so they can be used effectively by governments, charities and businesses.

We work to have a positive impact on society. Challenges exist and will continue to arise across many fields, and our approach is to consider anything where new ideas could improve livelihoods. We understand the fields in which we work, and are always eager to learn more.

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