Student research


This search facility showcases work that was carried out by students in an undergraduate or postgraduate role (for example BSc, BA, MSc and PhD students).

There are several ways to carry out your search. The simplest is to enter your key word into the ‘Search Text’ box and click on the search button. For a more advanced search our search facility allows you to define the specifics of the project if you know what you are looking for such as author and institution and the topic of the research. You can also filter your results to order them to your preference whether that be peer reviewed, published or work that is still underway.

Most of the research showcased here is free to access, if your search returns a project that is behind a pay wall we will tell you this by showing a £ sign.

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An Investigation into Building Designers...

Completed but not published

University of Strathclyde
Garry McGauran

In 2009 the first enforcement case was taken against a design company in Ireland relating to design failings. The case raised important questions about building designers and their ability to produce safe designs as required by best practice and by the statutes. Having experience as a Design Supervisor (PSDP) the researcher was eager to establish the capability of designers in terms of education and training, and their attitudes towards these requirements. It was anticipated that the research would identify key factors which prevent designers from eliminating ‘construction’ risks during design, thus providing valuable information for future intervention programmes.
Quantitative information was collected via questionnaires emailed to 150 designers evenly selected from four design disciplines. Questionnaires were also emailed to the organisations linked in educating and training designers. The response rate from the designers was good at 30% whereas the response rate from the ‘educators’ was poor; this was consistent with later findings. To identify recurring themes, case study interviews were carried out with three designers. All information was analysed and set against the research framework and objectives.
Designers were found to place a high priority on safety but had low confidence in addressing it during design due to a poor understanding of the requirements. The number of designers with formal qualifications was very low and designers seemed to rely on their own experience and reading along with advice from colleagues to inform them on health and safety. The majority perceived there to be no commercial benefits in adopting a safe approach to design due to client’s unwillingness to invest in the safety process.
Despite a low response rate from the educators the study has revealed key factors for this and has highlighted the need to focus on the role of educational institutions linked to designers, in future studies.

How to Improve Food Safety in a Supermarket

Completed but not published

Athlone Institute of Technology
Rachel Beirne

The aim of this project was to improve food safety in supermarkets, using two objectives:

•To improve food safety through training and verify its effectiveness
•To improve the cleaning programme and verify its effectiveness

Ireland has a diverse range of food legislation enforced by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. However, in 2011 sixty-six food businesses in Ireland were served closure orders for breaches in food safety legislation; that is the highest figure since the FSAI was established and a 12% increase from 2010. This increase, combined with the author’s job as a Food Safety Champion in a supermarket led to the choosing of this topic.

In order to fulfil the objectives of this study a literary review and a quantitative method of research was carried out. The literary review included Irish and EU food safety legislation, particularly for supermarkets in Ireland. Quantitative research was in the form of questionnaires and quizzes, which were distributed among food handlers in a SuperValu store; this was done to view perception and effectiveness of current training methods.

Using the data gathered through the research, improved training tools were developed. Food safety quizzes, cleaning swabs and audits were used to test the effectiveness of the improved training programme.

The results proved positive, the number of correct answers in the quizzes increased in every instance after the improved training. Cleaning swabs displayed an improvement and the score of the audit improved every month throughout the study.

The findings of this study highlighted the gap in literature when it comes to specifics of food safety training, most notably regarding the effectiveness of training programmes and the frequency of refresher training.

The author concluded that more emphasis should be placed on site specific training programmes throughout supermarkets, which will in turn improve food safety within this sector.

Striking Laser Displays: The Challenges...

Completed but not published

Salford University
Sarah Davidson

The entertainment industry is always striving for bigger and better special effects to enhance performances. This often results in the use of high powered lasers to create complex laser display’s. For the BBC an incident involving the use of a display laser highlighted laser safety risks because of the increasing use of high powered lasers.
Even at low levels, split second exposure from powerful lasers can cause eye damage (BBC 2010, Stewart, 2010, Makhov 2010, NHMRC, 1995).
The research therefore aimed to advance the understanding of current challenges in laser use and used a mixed method approach to compare and contrast adherence to regulatory regimes (Licensing and Safety) to respondent’s perceptions and understanding of laser safety risks. Responses were received from Regulators, Laser Operators, Venue Managers and Safety Professionals.
Data was collected via the use of stratified sampling of freedom of information requests (FOI’s), surveys and interviews. Study response rates were high with 63.3% (229 out of 358) of FOI’s and 50% (33 out of 66) of questionnaires being returned and included information on the interventions undertaken in pubs and clubs as well as event spaces.
The findings identified a lack of suitable and sufficient risk assessments being completed and a lack of understanding of laser risks. Variations were identified in policy standards and controls being applied across sites, this dilutes operator’s perceptions and understanding of safety risks, hence influencing the quality of risk assessments and the application of suitable controls. The study also identified the immergence of a public safety risk from laser use in pubs and clubs. Overall outcomes highlighted a clear need for improved awareness and emphasis on training those involved with display lasers and the development of fit for purpose laser safety policies, given the potential for an increasingly widespread use of lasers.

What are the causes of assaults and violence...

Completed but not published

Middlesex University
Spencer Lee

Substantial questions to which Spencer Lee, Health and safety Manager at London United Busways Limited (LUB) explored as a research project of his MSc in Occupational Safety and Health Management.

Assaults and workplace violence are a significant issue for bus drivers working at LUB. This research project was designed to establish the key factors of causation in this area by analysing data collected following the occurrence of workplace violence to individual staff members. The analysed results showed that the main key factors are fair disputes and disruptive passengers.

The finished report included a literature review on assaults and work related violence to establish whether there has been other written documents that may assist with theories and interventions used elsewhere. The diversity of documentation was limited and few bus related documents were found, however, many documents, predominantly model frameworks in the healthcare industry were available.

In today's LUB, there are many controls in place to manage the hazards and risks of workplace violence. The report describes a mixed bag of success of current measures and interventions. Including the in-house consultative forum of the Assault Working Party as well as physical controls such as CCTV, alarm systems and physical barriers, to which each are discussed in detail to the point of success or failure.

The study concludes that there is still room for substantial improvement, as any violence or assault is deemed unacceptable. Despite significantly reduced number, the fact remains that LUB staff are still being assaulted and therefore work must continue.

The next step is to undertake an in depth doctoral research project in this topic and build a model that can predict the occurrence of workplace violence investigating the lessons learnt and reducing the devastating affects it has on people’s lives. LUB staff has the right to work without fear of assault and violence. This forward thinking project will assist in achieving further reductions and potentially produce another essential tool for the wider field of other transport operators.

Hazardous Working Environments. An...

Completed but not published

The Robert Gordon University
Stuart McIlroy

The research investigated the relationship between workers and supervisors in the offshore oil and gas industry. The objectives were to assess worker-supervisor interaction and explore how personal and organisational factors affect relationships.

The growing consensus in the industry is for a more collaborative approach to supervision and engaging workers on issues such as: behaviours; and hazard perception. The theoretical framework included: workforce perception regarding the level of organisational support received is an important element in safety; agreement on zero tolerance attitude towards rule breaking. The following research questions were raised:

1) What is the motivation for ignoring and/or violating work procedures?
2) Who is involved in work planning?
3) How do workers perceive the level of support from supervisors/management?

A qualitative methodology was chosen, using in-depth semi structured interviews with a purposively selected sample from the offshore sector. The findings which emerged showed a good understanding by supervisors and workers of the need for barriers and controls. Coordination of activities, although well defined, are not always carried out to plan. Evidence from the primary research indicates poor working practices are still being observed regularly. Research suggests safety culture maturity differs in organisations, where two organisations are collaborating this may cause problems that will manifest themselves at supervisor-workforce level. Conclusions can be drawn from the research that: there are opportunities for improvements in how supervisors and workers interact; there is a shift in culture, with new entrant workers demonstrating a higher degree of awareness towards safety than those entering 15-20 years ago. A limitation of the study related to the sample size, which could be considered small. With employers focusing more on behavioural safety, workers and supervisors are increasingly being held accountable for their actions; therefore, understanding the relationship between these two parties has never been more important.

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