SAF€RA, the ERA-NET coordinating industrial safety research in Europe, held its first symposium in Berlin, Germany, on March 10-11, 2014.

Ulrich Panne, President of BAM Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, in opening the symposium pointed to BAM’s mission which is Safety in Technology and Chemistry. Detlef Dauke, General Director of the Division Innovation, IT and Communications Policies of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy welcomed some 75 experts from all across Europe representing in a well balanced distribution industry, research institutions, organizations and authorities. He addressed German government’s interest in industrial safety and pointed strongly to the relevance of research for innovation.

Twenty lectures in four sessions highlighted recent achievements and urgent needs. The topics covered A) New technologies in improving safety, B) Safety culture, C) Comparative performance of different regulation regimes, and D) SAF€RA joint programming.

Nils Rosmüller of TNO, The Netherlands, presented the results of a questionnaire that aimed to make clear what innovations in the transportation domain may appear and in what timeframe, and what the expected safety consequences might be. The preparation for these safety consequences was presented by Helmut Wenzel, VCE-Holding, Austria. In civil engineering good progress is achieved in modelling the behaviour of bridges and identifying associated risks. These findings need to be further developed in other sectors of civil engineering and introduced to standardization. Biogas is increasingly receiving attention as an alternative source of energy. Olivier Guerrini, Gaz de France, provided an integrated approach to deal with new safety and risk perception aspects of biogas production. He focused on the key perspectives in terms of recommendations and additional research to be conducted in order to gain an integrated vision of risks on the field of biogas. In a review, Eric Marsden of the French Foundation for an industrial safety culture pointed to collective learning from incidents and accidents. This was a topic several speakers extended on. It became evident that identical terms have different meanings in different sectors. Here a normative approach is needed. An inspector’s approach to industrial safety was presented by Minna Päivinen of TUKES, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency. She balanced the roles of the experts, the public and the authorities. She concluded in pointing to the benefit of mutual trust and sharing of good practices, leaving room for challenges coming from varying cultures of multinational companies, and new products and technologies. This led to compare the performance of different regulation regimes. Preben Hempel Lindoe, University of Stavanger, Norway, elaborated on the experience gained from offshore oil and gas operations.
In the last session of the symposium, successful proposals in the first joint SAF€RA call on Human and organizational factors including the value of industrial safety were presented and some early information on the second joint call was provided.

(press release)