Improving education and training of dutch major hazard control inspectors: A 15 years longitudinal case study

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Abstract

The education and training program for inspectors of Major Accident Hazard Establishments, specifically the EC Seveso III directive implicated Dutch chemical companies, changed considerably over a fifteen year period. This longitudinal, time-series cross sectional case study describes the development of the education and training program for Major Hazard Control inspectors, acting as regulators from the Labour inspectorate, belonging to the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. A blueprint had to be constructed in order to assess the development and quality of this program in four cross sections over time. The description highlights both the safety related content and the regulator skills parts of the program in its changing context. Professional standards, educational objectives, quality of education, evaluation method, education change process and the response to the dynamic operational environment were examined. The main findings are that the education and training program kept the same main structure over the time period while its contents were adapted to respond to external context changes. Internal evaluation of performance data and education style led to a shift in contents from theoretical knowledge towards safety management and inspection practice oriented experience related knowledge. An active teaching style, increased usage of professional standards and more systematic evaluation, starting from the blue print in this study, offer the best opportunities for further improvement. Current insights on regulatory performance lead to a recommended future perspective for the inspectors’ role to be translated into education and training: balancing empathy, inquisitiveness and support with control and enforcement, or rather: exert tough love, staying between too soft and too hard.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1959
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Inspector education and training
  • Major accident hazard establishment
  • Regulator
  • Seveso III directive

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