The demands on health, safety and environment (HSE) risk management professionals have never been so high. Regulators are requiring more formal demonstration that HSE risks are being properly controlled. Companies are operating in progressively more harsh and hazardous environments in the pursuit of future resources. There is frequent ‘raising of the bar’ in industry HSE standards to meet the expectations of the many stakeholders.

Yet HSE risk management is relatively new compared to other professions and there is no ‘fast track’ way of bringing new professionals into the industry, unlike mature professions such as civil engineering and accountancy. Therefore those organisations that develop programmes delivering competent HSE risk management professionals are more likely to benefit from better risk-informed decisions than those organisations that simply recruit new personnel and expect them to provide good advice.

This paper suggests an approach to HSE risk management learning which delivers a competent professional by combining the positive aspects of:

  • training, with practical experience of applying risk management techniques in the real-world;

  • formal assessment of competence and qualification; and

  • understanding of industry-specific issues.

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