Security and Safety in High Risk Environments Essay
Security and Safety in High Risk Environments
The research presented here introduces the concept of security, highlighting its links to, as well as the aspects through which it differs from, safety, with the aim to evaluate the prevailing perception that the two concepts are interchangeable. The study attempts to identify the differences between the two disciplines, and determine whether they should be segregated. Moreover, the approach to security and safety issues in high-risk environments are explored by conducting a questionnaire-based survey to be completed in various risk environments. The research study is based upon a review of literature surrounding the subjects of security, safety and risk, as well as data captured through quantitative questionnaires and qualitative data acquired that measured safety and security concerns.
The study findings reveal that there are many similarities between safety and security, as the ultimate aim of both disciplines is the well being of personnel and/or assets. However, the implementation of safety and security measures requires different approaches, both in terms of their study and their practical realisation. In sum, while safety can be studied as an ancillary in different majors, security and safety should be approached as a separate discipline in high-risk environments.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1:Introduction Page 4
Chapter 2: Literature Review Page 8
Figure 1-The Review Agenda Page 9
Table 1-Differences between security and safety Page 11
Chapter 3:Methodology Page 23
Chapter 4: Results and Findings Page 28
Figure 2-Security and Safety concerns at Work/ Home Page 29
Figure 3-Risk Perception of where participants Live/Work Page 30
Figure 4-Civilian Death Toll in Iraq 2003-2010 Page 33
Figure 5-Safety & Security Department Page 36
Appendix A: Questionnaire Page 41
Reference List: Page 47
Chapter 1: Introduction
New types of risks increasingly affect the modern world. Consequently, issues of security and safety are of global importance. Events that compromise safety and security can range from the insignificant to the catastrophic that have the potential to affect people, property, environment, and societies anywhere on the planet. One only has to turn on the TV, read the local paper or surf the World Wide Web to see the potential for harm from incidents such as traffic accidents, bacteria in food, toxic spills, and terrorist activities. Recent UK news stories concerning safety and security include the recent flooding in North Yorkshire, which prompted safety warnings (BBC News, 2012a) and security concerns over British airports during the 2012 Olympic games (BBC News, 2012b).
Safety and security concerns affect us all, ranging from the everyday need to secure of our home against fire or a burglary, to ensuring safety at the workplace. Sometimes, it is necessary to accept a certain level of risk, as the benefits outweigh the potential for harm and we can often take actions to reduce the risk. For example, over 30,000 people die each year in vehicle accidents, yet we continue to drive, mostly because we understand the risk
involved and most of us see the value in using seatbelts to prevent injury (Hardy, 2010). Individuals and organisations have always had concerns over security and safety; however, these risks can usually be predetermined, stated, and categorized. In recent years, however, due to increased prevalence of political unrest, terrorist activities, and the growing boldness of criminal organisations, some companies are prevented from conducting their business effectively, particularly organisations operating in high-risk areas. Moreover, in some cases, these environments have little or no safety culture or security infrastructure, with Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan being the most notable examples. Companies operating in these areas clearly have to adopt different safety and security practices compared to practices they would normally apply in low-risk areas, such as Europe or North America.
An adverse consequence of inappropriate management of safety and security in organizations in any potentially risky environment has the potential to affect the business and employees. However, as in high-risk environments results of inadequate risk management can be catastrophic, the development of more sophisticated safety and security policies and management systems is essential.
Although malicious acts are not new phenomena, damages to organisations arising due to security and safety breaches have shown that—owing to technological developments as well as the increased threats in high-risk and emerging regions from criminality and terrorism are becoming more complex. Hence, all stakeholders in every organisation must place great emphasis on defence against any form of risk in the organizational setup.
The development of stringent security and safety measures has come at a time when all stakeholders expect the highest level of safety and security to be upheld within an organisation. Even though many firms are striving to create a threat-free work environment, their efforts will be inevitable met with setbacks. Thus, in order to protect their property and staff against potential threats and malicious events, organisations must learn from existing safety and security arrangements and evolve them to the level that
can withstand increased risks.
The majority of organisations consider safety and security as one discipline or develop a single standard that relates to both. This is not surprising, as most experts perceive safety concerns as a matter of standard operational procedures in the workplace, neglecting the potential security threats. This study therefore seeks to explore all the shortcomings in the management of both safety and security, focusing on the relationship between the two concepts in any form of organisational setup and risk environment.
The aim of this research is to identify where the issues pertaining to security and safety converge and where they detract from each other. Furthermore, it is the intention of this research to identify how organisations and individuals view security and safety and why these concepts tend to be regarded as a part of a single discipline, and are thus often managed by the same organisational department. Safety and security will also be explored in terms of their management in high-risk environments. The researcher is currently employed with an international oil and gas organisation and frequently works in areas deemed high-risk environments. One of these areas includes Iraq, which has recently emerged from years of turmoil and unrest and has been consumed by internal and external security and safety challenges and will, thus, serve as a useful high-risk area case study.
The key motivation for this research topic lies in the current perception that safety concerns and security threats are similar and should thus be managed in a combined manner. However, although the aim of both disciplines is closely interrelated, the goal of any measures introduced to achieve wellbeing in either an environmental or personnel setting are distinctive from each other. The study thus seeks to contribute to the extant knowledge on how individuals perceive risk—a subject that has seen marked growth in interest of both researchers and practitioners over the past thirty years. From an academic point of view, the focus is on exploring the validity of the risk perception theory in the current world climate. However, from a practical, and even more important, point of view, the study findings may
assist in a positive shift in policy, procedures and training that are geared towards effective risk management.
The prevailing perception is that safety includes individual security; however, as the society becomes more globalised, security issues will become more prominent, due to global threats. Hence, security—at individual, community, national and international level—must be studied and addressed as a separate discipline. In order to draw some parallels, we can consider asking a person if he or she is living in a healthy environment. Most of us associate health with absence of any medical conditions or ailments, but in reality, are we talking about a safe environment that ensures no security threats? Our societal vernacular must change beyond the cultural confines of a given existence. We must develop the functional responsibilities to better reflect current reality. Security needs to be better defined to reflect current world climate and our response to any existing or potential threats must reflect that. This is an evolution and not a revolution in which studies like these will support the global transition of improved functional areas.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
This chapter will present a review of relevant literature and will examine issues surrounding safety and security, as well as those pertaining to prevalent risk perceptions. In order to achieve an extensive and balanced review related to this research, a holistic examination of theories will be performed. The literature review will also identify and examine previous findings that can guide the proposed study.
According to Leedy and Ormord (2010), the literature review is an important step in any research, as it helps understanding the research problem in the valid and relevant context. The authors state that the review of literature has several other benefits as “it can offer new ideas and perspectives… it can inform you of other researchers who have conducted work in this area… It can reveal sources of data… it can reveal methods of dealing with problems… and can help bolster the confidence of the researcher” (p.73). The volume of available published sources on the subject of security and safety is
immense. Therefore, identifying the problems to be researched early on is essential, in order to ensure that valuable time is not wasted on issues not directly related to the subject under study.
To assist in this a literature review, a review agenda will be utilised, as it will help identify the research problem and sub-problems. An initial agenda for this research is presented in Figure 1, indicating that the literature review will commence with a look at the disparities and similarities between the concepts of security and safety before moving on to an assessment of these issues in the context of separation and high-risk environments.
Figure 1- The Review Agenda
Security & Safety
Identify Similarities and Differences
Security & Safety
Identify Similarities and Differences
(Sub Problem 1)
(Sub Problem 1)
(Sub Problem 2)
High Risk Environments
(Sub Problem 2)
High Risk Environments
In order to understand and differentiate between security and safety, their definitions as well as some key principles underpinning both concepts should be reviewed. The concept of safety stems from the need for protection against accidents, modelling of which covers factors of technology, humans, and organization. Security, on the other hand, primarily suggests protection against theft and harm. In the modern world, security covers many spheres, from personal to national, including financial crime, and general protection of sensitive proprietary information (Kjellén, 2000).
Within industrial safety, the hazards are primarily linked to unintended incidents. Further differences between industrial safety and security arise in the number of contributors to the issue. In other words, security threat perpetrators are usually individuals or small groups trying to cause harm, or gain some profit effortlessly (International Nuclear Safety Group, 2006). On the other hand, safety threat execution may require many contributors or numerous unintended actions. Based on this differentiation, security incidents are malicious and unconstitutional acts, whereas safety threats, although not intentionally malicious, can still be unconstitutional. Within the scope of industrial safety, the range of losses is usually narrow and may include injuries and death, environmental damage, delivery delays, and loss of reputation. Such losses may be impossible to replace and their implications may be long lasting. In contrast, the range of losses arising from security threats is broad in nature and mainly relates to physical assets and sensitive information, making their replacement or compensation easier through insurance. However, in high-risk environments, losses arising due to security breaches can be more damaging to organisations.
For example, as piracy of the coast of Somalia is commonplace, it is accepted that shipping companies can offset the potential risks to their vessels by employing security contractors and insurance. However, if a vessel is hijacked and crewmembers are kidnapped, the organisation will suffer serious consequences. Safety can be described as a function of mechanical design
aimed at strategising and assisting in the integrity and protection from unintentional human errors and disasters. In contrast, security measures are designed to strategise and assist in the protection from deliberate and voluntary human actions. However, it must be recognised that deliberate human actions can also contribute to safety errors. For instance, not following work procedures in order to speed up processes is a deliberate act that may lead to an accident that constitutes a safety breach. Therefore, perceiving safety measures solely as means of protection against unintentional human errors is erroneous. So where is the distinction? The basic ideas underpinning both security and safety are the same. Nonetheless, there are some distinctions that differentiate the two concepts. The table below highlights the disparities between security and safety, as perceived by Albrechsten (2003). Table 1- Differences between security and safety
| Security| Safety|
1| Causes| An incident is most often a result of one persons or a groups will| An incident is most often a result of human behaviour in combination with the environment| 2| Causes| Often Planned actions| Often unplanned actions| 3| Causes| Intentional Criminal acts| Criminal acts (working environment etc)| 4| Causes| Mainly malicious acts| Seldom malicious acts| 5| Causes| Mainly deliberate acts with a wish of wanted input/consequence of the act.| Mainly deliberate without a wish of wanted output and accidental incidents| 6| Threats/Hazards| External and internal human threats| Internal human threats| 7| Threats/Hazards| Threats are not always tangible and proximate| Hazards are observable and tangible and proximate| 8| Loss| Loss is mainly related to physical assets and information| Loss is related to human injuries/death and reliability of industrial assets| 9| Surroundings| Reflects state of society through it structures, economical situation, law abidingness and moral| Includes physical and environmental conditions-not only humans and society| 10| Relevance| Relevant to wide range of companies| More relevant for the industry and transporting sector| 11| Uncertainty| High degree of uncertainty and low degree of knowledge about threats within| |
As evident from information presented in Table 1, Albrechsten has attempted
to clearly describe the differences between the two disciplines and has mostly succeeded. However, safety hazards (described in row 6) can be both external as well as environmental threats, as demonstrated by the recent incident at Fukushima nuclear plant, which was badly damaged in March 2011 due to a natural disaster. This event certainly affected the safety of businesses and the civil community surrounding the reactor. Furthermore, with regards to relevance (row 10), it is argued that the relevance of safety and security extends beyond companies and industry they operate in, as any fatal safety incident would affect community members, in particular family and loved ones of those working in the company. Additionally, it could also be argued that safety and security management is relevant at the national level, as was certainly the case with the Fukushima event. Security risks are typically considered through political policies, whereas safety concerns are usually independent of political decision-making or socio-political situations. This differentiation by scope could be another aspect that can segregate the concepts of safety and security. While explaining the above situation, Franklin (2006) cited Giddens (1991), noting their views on risk and politics, coining the term ‘social change’. The idea proposed by the authors is that the social change will result in risk management, as well as differentiated safety and security concerns, when life becomes less predictable and experts are called upon to foresee the threats (Franklin, 2006). The previous reviewed literature shows that both safety and security measures focus on protection of assets or humans from harm and creating safe/secure living and/or working conditions. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of us, including academics, still view safety and security as interchangeable concepts. Although safety and security may be characterised by several similarities as well as differences, the literature review reveals that the practices pertaining to both are closely linked and will continue to be so. Safety and security protocols are necessary for any organisation or individual trying to avoid risks. These protocols largely depend on the nature of the risks to be avoided by any organisation or administration. However, the protocols put in place can also affect the perception of risk. Otway and Paher (1980) state that “the perception of risks is a crucial factor in forming attitudes; obviously people respond to a threatening situation based upon what they perceive itto be” (cited in Toft and Reynolds, 2005, p.2). A major factor that also affects the emergence of these perceptions is the theories surrounding heuristics.
These are mental strategies designed to simplify problematic situations into more manageable ones. Work conducted by Slovic (1987) indicates that the use of heuristics has been an important factor in the development of risk perception. However, whilst heuristics may help define the perception of risk in many instances, it can also facilitate in an overestimation of the probability that an event may actually occur (Wharton, 1992). Thus, it is important to understand how incorrect risk assessment can affect people’s perception of the actual likelihood of risk or hazard. Moreover, the fact that they may view risk from objective viewpoint, rather than applying subjective measures, must also be accounted for. A closer examination of these factors will need to be considered in the methodology chosen in this study in order to ensure accuracy and relevance of any data gathered. Risk management process involves a plan of activities taken to manage risks (Harold, 1992). It includes designing and implementing organizational strategic objectives, as well as risk assessment, evaluation, monitoring and control. Peltier (2001) points out that for a risk analysis to be considered effective, it must clearly present the identified risks and highlight those that need a detailed analysis due to their higher perceived likelihood or importance. Risk managers often produce risk assessments based on calculations that tend to be formulated as if they were objective facts or absolute truths, indicating that approaches are largely objective in design (Bradbury, 1989). However, according to Turner (1994), a more balanced approach is needed, as “we are now in situation where no single view of risk can claim authority or is wholly acceptable” (p.148). The risks that can be identified as safety or security concerns are numerous; thus, it is incomprehensible to expect one expert to have a comprehensive understanding or all risks and be able to adequately consider them all.
The concept of risk is covered in a wide variety of subject areas and is not solely a safety and security problem. For example, risk is studied in project management, financial bodies, insurance, as well as public safety and security (Fenn, Flynn, Taylor, and Moore, 2006). However, the presence of risk governs safety and security protocols and implies that any specificsituation must be identified as either a safety or a security concern. In the context of deciding whether an event or a situation poses safety or security risk, Lupton (2006) notes that the concepts and theories surrounding risk have recently generated significant interest. With respect to the theory of risk, Lupton cites Beck (1992), noting that terms ‘risk society’; ‘cultural/symbolic’ and ‘governmental perspectives’ are currently of primary concern. Therefore, according to Lupton, all safety and security concerns depend on the type of perceived risk. Lupton (2006) further argues that some threats and dangers stem from the natural world, as, for example, natural disasters threaten both safety and security of those that can be potentially affected. H
owever, greater, and more difficult to foresee, threats should always be considered as security issues. Potential security threats should, in that respect, be clearly differentiated from normal safety concerns. For example, the threat emerging from pollution is a safety concern, but not a security one, whereas the danger that emanates from floods, earthquakes and terrorist activities would be considered a security threat rather than a safety one (Lupton, 2006). Cultural theory, as developed by sociologists (Dake, 1991), according to its proponents, should to be able to predict and explain of the type of individuals that are most likely to perceive potential hazards and the level of danger they pose. The cultural theory grid (Douglas, 1982) aims to explain how people perceive the world, as determined by social aspects. Douglas indicates that people and organisations can be categorised according to their attitude towards life and world around them as proponents of hierarchy, fatalism, individualism or egalitarianism. The cultural theory grid is of paramount importance to this research, as individuals working within organisations in high-risk areas are typically bound by strict company rules and regulations, which are, in turn, governed by the company’s perception of the world and environment in which it operates. Given that safety and security issues inevitably involve individuals and/or society as whole, understanding the sociological meaning of security is necessary. McSweeney (1999) opines that security is an “elusive term like peace, honour, justice, but denotes the quality of relationship which resists definition” (p.13). Hence, absence of security results in increase of vulnerability, whereby people start to feel unsafe. In other words, when security measures are in place and are perceived as
adequate, the outcome is safety. In this context, security can be termed as a deterrent for threats of defence. At a more individual level, in situations where security might be an issue, armed guards are likely to be in charge of protecting the property, wealth and people. However, at a global level, security concerns are increasingly arising through more than just direct threats to human life and/or property and often involve international relations. When trying to understand issues pertaining to security, international relations must be taken into account, as, due to globalisation of the society, threats to safety have to be managed collaboratively, at international level. McSweeney (1999) even considers the vision of security as a negative freedom. According to the author, security is absence of an evil, known as insecurity, and thus should be related to objects and commodities that have “specific function in relation to other objects or commodities” (p.13). Hence, the objects or commodities related to security are tangible and visible, even if the security is not. Feeling secure is equivalent to attaining safety and it suggests “enabling, making and something possible” (p.22). For example, a child feels secure when with his/her mother, as it will be safe in her presence. Therefore, based on this analogy, a certain aspect of security is based on the probability of attaining safety. However, security aspects result in a sense “in the primal relationship, which it will be argued, carries a profound message for understanding of international security and security policy” (p.22). Though perception of security is based on relationships, both individuals and administrations often consider it a commodity, whether tangible or intangible, as it seems easier to address it in that manner. Consequently, the expression of social order results in a dilemma of safety and security, as these intangible relationships are being considered as commodities. As a result, understanding security in terms of its differentiation from safety is inherently difficult due to the problems in translating to the collective level of the society or the state. According to Garavan and O’Brien (2001), in the 1980s, a new paradigm has emerged, focusing on the characteristics and the behaviour of employees in order to address their safety. The authors further claimed that the attitudes and protocols regarding safety change with climate and culture of the organisation. They tried to elucidate the relationship between safety
climate and specific safety measures, noting that due to strong pressure on the employees to complete their work, a range of safety issues could emerge in the workplace. However, these issues are not security issues, but rather stem from ineffective communication pertaining to safety issues between management and employees. In this respect, workplace safety threats emanate from “production/safety trade-offs, time pressures, poor communication and co-ordination systems as they are important organisational factors that decide safety behaviour patterns” (Garavan and O’Brien, 2001, p.142). However, safety concerns extend much further than the employees, as some workplaces; such as construction sites affect the community as well as company stakeholders. For example, building quality can have significant impact on general societal safety, even though it is the companies in charge of constricting and maintaining them that must ensure that standards are met. When attempting to ensure road safety, the ability to forecast potential concerns will be different from those present in organisational safety, as in the latter case, the safety depends on communication between management and employees as well as establishment and implementation of relevant protocols. In the context of road safety, although protocols must be in place and they do work to an extent, their effectiveness depends on traffic control and individual’s adherence to safety precautions. Moreover, it is important to note that road safety concerns and protocols resulted from the global urbanisation, as such issues were non-existent in the past. The rapid urbanisation increased the importance of roads and their safety, prompting the administrations to frame relevant protocols. Similarly, the increasing safety and security concerns are resulting in new protocols and are calling for differentiating between the two concepts. One important aspect that has emerged as a result of urbanisation is the increasing number of vehicles, posing threat to road safety. As this is a relatively new issue, the existing safety protocols need to be changed and the administrations are reacting accordingly. The need for framing new safety protocols indicates the increasing necessity of the study on safety issues posed by the circumstances and needs of the people. According to Mcdonald (2005), road safety in the era of globalisation is of increasing importance due to urbanisation in developing countries, and warrants developing effective solutions that need “diverse variety of academics” (p.744). The
diversity of academic fields in which this issue is of growing interest increases the number of literature sources on safety and security issues, allowing the future generations to benefit from their knowledge and experience. For example, in China, which is a rapidly developing economy, newly emerging safety concerns are also highlighting other issues, such as cost to the society due to loss of human lives and suffering due to injuries. Thus, it is likely that, on a global scale, safety concerns and their study will require an interdisciplinary approach, as the protocols that will emerge will focus on reducing or minimising the losses. As noted above, construction safety is, to a certain extent, related to the organisational safety. According to Brito (2007), although the World Trade Centre (WTC) had been designed with safety in mind, some security threats that had not been part of the safety protocols, such as building and constructional safety, were lacking, and these attributed to the magnitude of devastation the attack caused. The WTC attack and its consequences prompted the discussion of whether safety and security should be regarded as one discipline, as if that is the case, they are implicitly seen as a responsibility of one department, whereby it must be considered if safety experts are capable of successfully addressing existing and potential security threats and vice versa. Safety concerns and the corresponding protocols arise due to the need to avoid the perceived danger. It is evident from the examples given above that safety jurisdiction is very broad and covers both issues that can be foreseen and avoided (such as purchasing food from a reputable source or wearing a seatbelt when driving) to those that must be left in hands of professionals (such as construction sites and buildings), to natural calamities (Knight and Warland, 2005). Nonetheless, in some areas, threats both real and perceived call for their classification as either safety or security issues. In order to understand the reasons for the confusion in classification, it is useful to review the study of Keil, Austin and Andreescu (1996) about the safety concerns that arise when the crime rate is high. These concerns stem from individuals’ perception of safety and should thus not be treated as security issues, as the threat on human life is not always present. The fear of crime may arise due to people being scared of burglaries and thefts, whereby it is possible that human injuries would occur. Hence, although the fear of crime may involve security
issues, it is also closely linked to the perception of safety. Skogan and Maxfield (1981), as well as Keil and Vito (1991), referring to the concerns that arise due to the fear of crime, explain that people typically feel unsafe in their neighbourhood due to the fear of criminal victimisation. Hence, crime prevention and control must involve law enforcement agencies, thus combining safety and security aspects. However, when threat of crime is present, yet not realised, it is a safety issue only, as my increasing perceived level of safety, shared vulnerability is minimised. Moreover, perceptions of safety vary with socio-demographic characteristics, as, according to Keil, et al. (1996), who cited Keil and Vito (1991), safety concerns of older and younger adults in the same geographical locations can be vastly different. In contrast, the security issues are same for all the citizens in a geographical location. Consequently, the commonality observed earlier with security has been neutralised with the aforementioned difference of safety fear perception between younger and older adults. The differences in safety concerns also differ with homeownership, which are not prevalent in security issues, thus further differentiating the concepts of safety and security. Finally, Keil, et al. (1996) mention that the homeownership has positive impact on safety issues in local neighbourhoods, which may not be true when it comes to security. Green (1987) defines safety as a state of being protected from a risk or injury, explaining that, as part of management of risk, safety is considered an old phenomenon, significant in any organization, irrespective of its size. Green further argues that, safety goes hand in hand with security, since the latter provides safety assurance in an organization. For example, due to the invention of computer, most of the information pertaining to the activities and processes taking place and affecting an organization is stored in digital form. Consequently, the organization must be aware of the potential of loss of data, misuse of proprietary information, and unlawful access to the database by hackers. Stringent rules and regulations imposed by regulating authority have also contributed to the security protocols being implemented and maintained within an organization. Moreover, as organizational activities tend to require substantial funds, the individuals entrusted with their management must take responsibility for security of all confidential information through audit tracking to ensure that the funds are
not misused or stolen. Confidentiality is or great concern in an organization, as access to sensitive information by competitors can take away the competitive edge and the organization has in the market; therefore, safety of such information is mandatory (Floyd, 1995). To understand if security should be treated separately from safety, it is also appropriate to consider the issues and recommendations pertaining to regional security measures in the western hemisphere. According to Manwaring, Fontela, Grizzard, and Rempe (2003), the recommendations for security in Western hemisphere are: “The need to advance hemispheric understanding of the security concerns of each country, and those the region as a whole faces (e.g., the internal and external threat(s) to security). The need to develop multilateral, civil military structures and processes to identity and address threats in the contemporary security environment. The need to foster expanded dialogue, consultations, and cooperation for building consensus principles and concepts for regional security cooperation. The need to adapt US military efficacy to the contemporary threat environment in the hemisphere at the strategic level.” (p.1) The above-mentioned recommendations, if implemented, would greatly enhance the safety of Western society; however, the issues they cover are also related to security. In other words, although safety and security ensure the presence of one other, some issues that differentiate the two still must be addressed. Although safety is typically the output of security implementation, studying the two concepts as one discipline is not mandatory. At present, some administrations are already dealing with safety and security separately; nonetheless, the perceptions of the two concepts and the approach to their study are not sufficiently segregated. However, areas where security concerns are more important than those arising due to safety issues should be considered, as the implementation of security implicitly offers safety. The review of extant literature relevant to the fields of security, safety and risk revealed some contrasting theories that surround the subjects. The review commenced by addressing the differences between safety and security and showed that, although there are many differences, the two disciplines are closely linked, whereby that security implementation implies safety and vice versa. However, due to some contextual differences in usage of the terms safety and security as well as increased globalisation of our modern
world, various safety and security aspects have been compounded an even new ones emerged; thus, their assessment and methods of ensuring them must be reviewed. The literature review also identified several objectives that would assist in the conduct of this study. The definition, similarities and differences between the concepts of security and safety were studied, indicating that both safety and security protocols are necessary for any organisation trying to avoid risks. Moreover, the two disciplines, according to the cited literature sources, are clearly interconnected and the approach that would benefit from this link must be found. Finally, in an attempt to identify if safety and security should be treated as separate discipline, the review found that, although safety is typically the output of security implementation, studying them under same discipline is not mandatory.
Chapter 3: Methodology
The literature pertinent to security and safety was reviewed in the previous chapter, revealing that some reported findings could be effectively linked to several of the aims and objectives of this research study. However, in order to explore these concepts further, understand how security and safety are perceived in high-risk environments and determine whether, in this context, they should be addressed as singular disciplines, more research is required. This chapter will thus present the methodology that will be used to carry out the empirical research for this study. Statistical data used to achieve the aforementioned goals was gathered via a sampling survey, which aimed to obtain relevant statistics from an extensive target audience. The survey was posted on social websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as sent internally to employees within the researcher’s organisation.
The strategy employed in the research was an inductive process, whereby conclusions were drawn based on substantiated theory and the survey responses. Inductive research is a technique that allows theories to be generated from a set of observations and “grounded theory has become the best-known approach to inductive social research” (Hodkinson cited in Gilbert, 2008, p.80). In this study, data that could be utilised to recognise patterns, themes and concepts was first gathered. Therefore, it was essential that the data gathered through the survey be interpreted
accurately. The appropriateness of using a focus group as a means of data collection was also considered, as this method allows for examining both cultural and individual experiences pertaining to safety and security and would build upon answers gathered via the survey. However, due to the nature of the security environment in Iraq, this approach was deemed unfeasible. It is thus suggested that, when the security situation in Iraq improves, conducting a discussion with a focus group comprising both expats and local nationals would be invaluable to this research.
Security and safety affect us all in both our private and work lives. Therefore having a broad range of participants belonging to different socio-demographic groups was necessary. The researcher also attempted to gather data internationally, as that would enable including countries currently termed as high-risk areas or war zones. However, the survey has some inherent limitations, such as being worded in English and only available on line, reducing the potential sample to only English-speaking participants with access to the Internet. Although creating the survey in a range of different languages was considered, it would require interpretation of participants’ responses, which would have proved time consuming and thus impractical.
The survey was initiated in June 2012 and was available on a social survey website for five weeks. By the end of the 5-week period, participants in over 20 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Oman, Israel, and Mexico, had completed a total of 165 surveys. Respondents’ records where labelled P-1 to P-165 to assist in further research and to aid in referencing responses.
Prior to any of the surveys being posted within the researcher’s organisation, formal authorization had to be sought from various departmental managers, including IT, HR and the Law department, to ensure there was no infringement upon company policies or ethics. Authorization for the distribution of the survey was requested to each department manager. Final approval was also sought from the company Vice President. Approval to conduct the survey was granted with the explicit caveat that it should not
conflict with the organisation’s business policies and that no sensitive company information was to be disclosed. The researcher confirmed that the there would be no breach in corporation policies and that details pertaining to company business would not be included within the survey.
Simmons, writing in Gilbert (2008), states that questionnaires produce an invaluable source of data about individuals’ attitudes, values, personnel experiences and behaviours. The questionnaire proved to be an extremely beneficial part of this research, as it allowed the gathering significant volume of valuable data from numerous sources. The information could be collected in a cost-effective and non-time consuming manner, and the responses gathered could be subsequently studied and analysed by the researcher. A commercial website for the distribution and collection of the information was utilised (www.surveymonkey.com) as, according to Kraut, et al. (2004), the use of the online survey has several advantages, such as broad target audience in terms of both socio-demographic characteristics as geographic location. The latter was particularly important for the present study, as it allowed gathering responses from individuals in high-risk environments, such as Iraq and Afghanistan—where safety and security issues are of primary concern. The replica of the questionnaire used in the online survey can be found in Appendix A and it incorporated questions pertaining to attitudes and beliefs that address both cultural and theory aspects of safety and security, which were grouped into four sections.
The first two sections included questions pertaining to the respondents’ background, focusing on their position within their industry. It also attempted to identify geographical locations of where the respondent lived and worked. This data allowed the researcher to identify if the respondent may be biased towards safety or security. It also allowed for gathering data on the risk areas in which the respondent worked and lived, as these would have an impact on the remainder of the questionnaire.
The questions included in the third part of the questionnaire were based on cultural theory and sought to establish how respondents classified their environments with regards to Risk and what they deemed where security or
safety issues. This section also allowed the respondent to describe what they perceived as security and safety issues both at home and in the workplace.
The fourth and final section of the questionnaire aimed to identify how the respondents perceived safety and security and asked if the two should be distinct and separate disciplines or linked in a single approach.
Closed questions were used for the first three sections, but there was an opportunity for respondents to add further information at the end of the majority of the questions. The final part of the questionnaire consisted of open questions, whereby participants were asked to express their opinions in their own words.
The data collected through the survey was subjected to an analyses spiral, as Leedy and Ormrod (2010) show that by using this approach the researcher can “go through the data several times taking steps to organise data… peruse the data… identify general categories… and integrate and summarise the data” (p.153). Moreover, Strauss and Corbin (1998) maintain that data should be reviewed multiple times to examine if new groups emerged or were repeated. Thus, once all information was extracted and classified into groups, the original data was revisited to ensure that the groups and themes corresponded to the initial hypothesis guiding the study. Although it is recognised that reliability of the study findings drawn from the data collected would be greatly enhanced if several analysts were utilised to interpret the data and read the surveys, as themes identified would be discussed and agreed upon, as the researcher was working alone, the emphasis was on correct interpretation, impartiality and maintaining a non-biased approach throughout the research. Furthermore, during the data analysis, the researcher was mindful to note any alternative explanations and considered emerging theories that may have not been initially taken into account at the start of the research.
This chapter has detailed the methodology utilised to conduct this empirical research study. It described how the researcher ensured that an unbiased
view and impartiality would be maintained throughout the collection and interpretation of the data gathered to ensure that the research findings were valid. The chapter commenced by identifying the strategy to be utilised and described the method by which the study participants were identified and approached. The use of an on-line questionnaire was justified, and the data collection and analysis methods were described.
Chapter 4: Results and Findings
The previous chapter detailed the methods that will be employed to capture data and carry out the empirical research. This chapter will examine the key results and findings. As noted in the last chapter, due to the use of on-line questionnaires, a significant number of study participants were obtained. They originated from different geographical locations and were socio-demographically diversified, which helped evaluate security and safety perceptions in different risk environments across various occupations, age groups and genders.
This chapter will begin by examining the data captured by the completed questionnaires, which will then be utilised in studying the perceptions towards safety and security concerns of personnel in different risk environments. Finally, the analysis of these results will be discussed.
One of the intended aims of this research was to identify how security, safety and risk are regarded and perceived in areas deemed to pose high to severe risk threats. Therefore, it was appropriate to focus on the data provided by the survey participants that worked or lived in these types of environments. Additionally, it was also necessary to identify individuals that lived in areas that they classed as low to medium risk areas, yet their working conditions were considered to carry high to severe risk.
The online survey and the questionnaire internally distributed in the researcher’s organisation resulted in 165 completed questionnaires. Most respondents were aged 35-45 (34%) or 45-55 (34%). Males submitted 82.7% of the completed questionnaires, 17.2% were submitted by females, and 1 person omitted to identify their gender. Further, 80.2% of the participants that
completed the questionnaire were in full-time employment, 14.2% were self-employed, 2.5% worked part-time 1.9% were unemployed and 1.2% were retired at the time of completing the questionnaire. When respondents were asked to identify if they were a member of a security or safety department, 12.9% chose safety, 19% worked in security, and remaining participants worked in unrelated fields.
Respondents were asked if they had ever faced concerns over safety and/or security in the workplace or at home. From 165 contributors, 2 participants omitted to answer this question. The results can be seen in Figure 2 below and should be considered in the light of the Health and Safety Executives annual figures, which show that, during 2010/11, in the United Kingdom, there were 175 workers killed at work and 1.2 million employees, suffered a work-related injury or illness (HSE, 2012). Similarly, in the United States, a paper by the FBI showed that, between 1993 and 1999, an average of 1.7 Million ‘violent victimizations’ occurred in the workplace each year (Issacs, 2002). The data provided by both the HSE and Issacs clearly show that security and safety in the workplace is a major concern, which is in line with the responses provided by the study participants. Figure 2- Security and Safety concerns at Work/ Home
Some of the security and safety concerns noted by the participants that answered this question range from concerns that affect most employees in everyday risk environments (e.g., access control, theft, electrical hazards, unguarded machinery and scaffolding), to concerns that would be found in high to severe risk environments, such as kidnapping, improvised explosive devices, terrorism, uneducated employees and countries with no safety culture. One respondent (P-53), who is employed in Iraq, noted that the risk of Missile and terrorist attacks on the accommodation where they lived is real danger. The same respondent also noted that there was a clear lack of safety culture amongst local employees… and equipment was in extremely poor condition… that would not be tolerated in a western country.
From the information gathered, it is clear that security and safety concerns in the workplace far outweigh the same concerns in the respondents’
homes. Moreover, it is evident that the concerns pertaining to safety and security in high-risk environments were substantial and very real.
Participants were also asked to identify how they would classify the risks arising from their living locations and work environments and their responses were presented in Figure 3 below. Figure 3- Risk Perception of where participants Live/Work
It is evident from Figure 3 that the vast majority of participants lived in areas where they perceived the risk as low or medium. Low risk areas included Australia, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Iraq, Jordan, United Kingdom and the United States. Areas that were perceived as Medium risk included Brazil, India UAE, Ukraine, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The figure also highlighted that a total of 51.2% of participants were currently employed in areas they perceived the risk as either high (37%) or severe (14.2%). The vast majority of these were employed within Iraq (53 participants). Countries that were deemed to pose high risk included Africa, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq and Mexico. Finally, three participants that worked there perceived Afghanistan as an area posing a severe risk, and Iraq was deemed as a severe risk country by 19 of the 53 participants that worked there.
It is interesting to note that participants that lived in Iraq classed the country as a low risk area, yet all those who lived elsewhere but were employed in Iraq deemed the risk it posed as either high or severe. Previously, participant P-53 highlighted that the risk of missile or terrorist attack on their accommodation is a real danger. It is without question that there are security concerns for foreign workers in Iraq and it is commonplace for Western companies to be protected by armed security professionals. Events, such as the attacks on storage yards and the pipeline bombings in Basra province in 2011/12, highlight that the risks to foreign companies and workers are high. However, recent security attacks in Iraq have concentrated on the Iraqi security forces and population, indicating that they too are in danger, even if their perception of it is not
proportionate to the threats to their wellbeing. For example, in June 2012, over 234 local residents were killed in Iraq, with no reports of any foreign workers being attacked or injured (CFC, 2012).
Thus, we must understand why the understanding of risk from those that live in Iraq is different to the perceptions of foreign workers. Renn and Rohrmann (2000) identified that familiarity with the risk source and voluntary acceptance of the risk offers a plausible explanation as to why risk is accepted. Those living in the country deemed to pose high risk are used to the environment and living through an intense period of turmoil. Consequently, after a period of adjustment to the living conditions, they would deem the risk within the country as lower than it was in previous years. Indeed, historical figures show that the number of deaths due to violence in Iraq has dramatically decreased, as shown in Figure 4. When asked about security concerns, respondent P-152, who lives in Iraq, stated that today we have very few concerns towards security because we lived through the hardest time from 2004 to 2007, which was when we had the most violence, today there is nothing compared to then. However, to foreign workers in Iraq, the perception of risk is very different. P-162 who resides in the U.A.E but works in Iraq highlighted that the work environment and living environment in Iraq is very unsafe. Similarly, P-158 from the United States noted that working in Iraq has inherent security risks and P-93 from the United Kingdom pointed out If we did not have security concerns why are we wearing body armour and travelling in high security convoys at all times in our work in Iraq. When travelling to and from work in the UK, P-93 does not need to don body armour or travel in a security convoy. Therefore the simple fact that this is necessary in Iraq affects P-93’s perception of the risk he is exposed to.
Figure 4- Civilian Death Toll in Iraq due to Violence 2003-2010.
(Adopted from Iraq Body Count, 2010).
The reduction in the number of violent deaths, along with the improved living conditions and investment in many of Iraq’s cities, has resulted in the perception that the security has indeed improved for the local populace.
However, even though the security situation in Iraq may be seen as improving, safety culture can still be a problem. When asked to identify any safety concerns pertaining to the living conditions, participant P-143, who is a Iraqi citizen, answered when you drive your car you are facing safety concerns…nobody follows the traffic signals, nobody stick to his lane, sudden change of direction, nobody uses the car indicator, and people drive in the opposite direction. Official figures reflect P-143’s concerns as, in 2005 alone, 1,789 fatal and 7,467 non-fatal accidents were reported in Iraq (WHO, n.d.). Further safety concerns were highlighted by P-152, who stated: After working with American oil companies, I see we have a lot to learn with regards to our attitudes towards safety.
Safety culture is an important factor in many workplaces and environments, not just those in high-risk areas. Although increased efforts to improve safety culture have been shown to prevent accidents (Hardy, 2010), safety culture can only evolve over time and it requires participation of all stakeholders to be effective. For example, in the United Kingdom, prior to 1983, it was not compulsory to wear a seatbelt whilst travelling in a vehicle. The famous ‘CLUNK CLICK EVERY TRIP’ government-advertising campaign reinforced the importance of seat belts, and in 1991, wearing a seatbelt became mandatory for all vehicle occupants (Massey, 2009). In this context, P-143 highlighted that road safety was a concern in Iraq, in line with the official figures. Consequently, in May 2011, the Iraqi Government took steps towards changing the culture of unsafe driving practices and implemented a ten-year plan to reduce traffic fatalities. This plan includes “stepping up enforcement of traffic laws, wearing of seatbelts, issuing drivers licenses… encourage safer driver…and raise awareness in incorrect passing, driving in wrong direction and ignoring traffic signs” (Al-Taie, 2011,).
Respondents in all risk areas were asked if they supported dealing with security and safety issues by the same department. The findings indicate that 68.9% participants living or working in high to severe risk areas and 45.1% from low to medium risk areas felt that security and safety should be responsibility of one department. Participant P-158, highlighted that combining them might be more efficient, but could lead to lack of focus.
Participant P-145, who works in a high-risk environment and answered ‘yes’ to the above question, noted that a holistic approach is more successful – a combined safety & security. However, P-160 pointed out that although the end goal is the same; namely to keep personnel and their effects free from harm. However, the threats that safety and security try to mitigate are very different, so they are not the same and that different types of risks with different requirements for specialization, keep the disciplines separate with an interface between the groups to determine synergies in coverage. P-118 noted: Depending on the industry, as our working with hazardous materials, they go hand and hand. We train that safety and security are our top priorities. Similarly, P-66 pointed out that same department with different specialists will ensure better coordination and consistency.
The question of whether security and safety should be combined under one discipline was also put to the study participants. The findings indicate those 88.5% respondents from high to severe risk areas and 51.2% from low to medium risk areas thought that they should not be combined under one discipline and that security should be the responsibility of security experts, with safety experts in charge of safety issues. P-123 emphasized this stating: I see these as being two different issues that are covered by experts in two different areas. In other words, being an expert in one area does not make you an expert in the other area. Similarly, P-145 indicated that safety and security departments must have experts in specific health, safety, environmental and security disciplines. In response to this question, P-76 noted: When I have a serious security threat – I want a bad ass who has seen it all and done it all watching out for my family and me. When I’m touring a chemical plant I want a safety specialist well versed running the program there, keeping me safe. Moreover, P-66 pointed out that specific technical aspects of safety and security might differ greatly, whereby specialists need to focus on different causal factors and different prevention/mitigation tools might be used.
Figure 5- Safety & Security Department
The final aim of this research was to identify how risk is contemplated in
high to severe risk environments, and if security and risk should be dealt with separately at these risk levels. The risk level is determined by various factors, such as crime, corruption, culture, terrorism, the capability of government forces, and the political/economical or social situation. Environments were safety or security incidents are extremely high, or there is a persistent risk or threat, are more often than not classed as high or severe risk. This is certainly the case in Iraq, were the Foreign Commonwealth Office states that “‘Despite a general decrease in violence… advise against all but essential travel to the whole of Iraq… There is high threat of terrorism…violence, kidnapping and targeting of foreign nationals” (FCO, 2012, n.p). The FCO further highlight that, as the safety and security situation is serious enough in Iraq, the provision of security protection for those working in Iraq is extremely important. Thus, foreign nationals are advised to regularly assess their security arrangements and act accordingly.
It has already been highlighted in this research that improving the safety of roads and raising driving standards will take up to ten years in Iraq. The lack in safety culture has been endemic across many industries in Iraq for many years and safety rules and regulations were virtually non-existent (Dalrymple, 2005). However, the foreign investments and the recent arrival of many prominent international companies, such as BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Bechtel and Emirates Airlines, which are considered world leaders in safety, prompted a significant drive towards education in safety, training, safe working practices and legislation. ExxonMobil’s identifies its safety guidelines for its projects in Iraq, which include the identification and elimination of hazards from work or the working environment by the effective engineering control, or provision of a safe working environment (Minchie, 2012). It has already been shown that changing safety culture is a long-term process. Safety culture is affected by common beliefs, attitudes and behaviours (Hardy, 2010) and changing long-standing views and practices must be the responsibility of not only safety professionals, but also organisations and the state.
Safety and security in high to severe risk countries will be governed by
nature of the environments, as the real and perceived threats often require more in-depth practices that in low to medium risk environments. It has already been highlighted that foreign companies operating in Iraq need to take many security considerations and impose security procedures on their expat employees to ensure their wellbeing. Security considerations in high to severe risk areas are very different from those in a low risk environment as, for example, the amount of risk an organisation is willing to accept is ultimately greater, which affects the choice of risks the company decides to mitigate or manage (Fenn, at al., 2006).
The provision of proactive security measures is important in any risk environment. However, the measures taken in high-risk environments often differ from those in low risk areas. Normally the prevention of acts of terrorism and other malevolent threats is primarily the responsibility of government agencies (Fenn, et al., 2006). However, due to frequent attacks on facilities, convoys and personnel, organisations operating in Iraq had to enhance their proprietary security measures to ensure the wellbeing and security of their personnel and facilities. For example, in Iraq security guards are commonly armed with assault weapons and wear bulletproof vests on a daily basis. As highlighted by survey respondent P-93, the requirement to travel in armoured security convoys are a safety and security measure an employee working in Iraq has to accept. These measures would not be used in low risk environments and the processes and procedures to employ and implement these methods are the responsibility of the security department.
The literature review and the responses gathered via the questionnaire provided some valuable data that could be used to answer the initial research questions. It should be noted that any future research into this topic should place more emphasis on gaining relevant information from local nationals residing and/or working in high-risk environments.
The data analysis indicates that, for participants working in high-risk environments, safety and security are a very important factor. It also highlights that participants took more interest in the personnel safety/security and were more aware of the potential risks concerning their
environment. The study also looked at risk perception and how individuals perceive risk specifically looking at the opinions of people who live and work in high-risk areas.
The research also revealed that there are many similarities between safety and security and ultimately the aim of both disciplines is the wellbeing of personnel and/ or assets. However, the implementation of safety and security requires different approaches both in terms of their study and approach to their practical realisation. This is particularly important in high-risk environments, as the study revealed that, while safety can be studied as an ancillary in different majors, security and safety should be approached as a separate discipline in high-risk environments.
Thus, the primary contribution of this study to the field of safety and security is that, although these issues are highly perception-related, whereby an individual accustomed to high risk may feel safe in a war-torn country, yet another would feel threatened walking alone in the brightly lit street at night, there is no denying that the modern world is becoming increasingly globalised and, thus, many previously non-existent risks are coming to the fore. For example, data and identity theft could not be accomplished with such ease only a decade ago, yet the widespread use of Internet, and in particular social networks, has made it easy for perpetrators to gain access to information pertaining to any individual or organisation. Similarly, road and construction safety is of increasing importance, as the number of vehicles is growing each day and the buildings are becoming more complex in structure. Thus, even though the primary topics pertaining to safety and security are those related to livelihood, risk of death or injury, and thus certain regions in the world are deemed high or low risk, we are all exposed to risks every day. In sum, safety and security are complex issues and will become even more so with the modernisation taking place around the world. The study and implementation of any measures will require experts from many different fields, as only then a comprehensive picture of these crucial aspects of everyday life will be formed.
Appendix A: Questionnaire
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