The measurement of health and safety performance is an important requirement but most performance metrics are lagging indicators, measuring lost time incidents, dangerous occurrences etc. The challenge is to develop metrics that can be applied at the design stage. It is widely recognised that most accidents are influenced by the design stage, and many can be directly attributable to deficiencies in design. This paper is concerned with a design capability maturity model’, which is complementary to the design safety performance indicator model developed to apply to the design process itself. It has been developed to measure the capability of an organisation to design a safe installation, and is based on five maturity levels, ranging from level 1 (initial or learner approach) to optimised or best practice at level 5. This maturity model was originally developed for the software industry and has now been applied to offshore safety. A similar maturity model for quality assurance is now incorporated in the latest version of ISO 9004. Eleven characteristics associated with safety have been identified, in three main groups representing formal safety demonstration, safety implementation and longer term investment in safety. A maturity level is assigned to each of these characteristics and the profile produced reflects the organisation’s overall maturity in design for safety. An important aspect of the model is that it enables an organisation to establish its current level of maturity for each of the characteristics and to identify what steps are necessary to enable the organisation to progress to a higher level. The model can be used as a self assessment tool or applied through an external independent body to the different organisations involved in design (contractor’s design team, duty holder’s team etc).

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