Checking the checklist: the effect of training on the application and effectiveness of checklist-based risk assessments
reportposted on 27.06.2013, 11:52 by Laurence Clift, Clare Lawton, Martin Maguire
This report details a programme of research undertaken on behalf of IOSH and intended to investigate the critical factors which control the effectiveness of checklist-based risk assessments. Through five research phases, partner companies from UK manufacturing industries provided case examples of current practice and a resource of participants to conduct user trials. An extensive literature review revealed that previous research had focussed on the effectiveness and reliability of checklists in risk assessment. However, very little research had been conducted in assessing the effectiveness of the actual design of checklists and the level of accompanying training that is required to ensure they are used correctly. A questionnaire survey of 88 companies of more than five employees revealed the state of current practice and a wide diversity of resources and application of safety practices. From these companies 15 were selected to undertake an in-depth walk through involving a site inspection, interviews with Health and Safety professionals and an audit of the health and safety practices. From the audited companies four were selected to take part in user trials involving the provision and evaluation of control checklists and accompanying training. This provided a large data set which could be scrutinised to identify the effective features of checklists and the benefits training may offer. The results reveal a complex picture with numerous confounding influences. Specific features of checklists and training offer benefits in some circumstances and limitations in others. A lack of clear patterns suggests that the high degree of variability in companies and staff make prescriptive solutions unreliable as safety interventions. Recommendations are made for assessing the content of checklists but reservations remain over the effectiveness of a single solution for use in any specific company.
This work was funded by IOSH.