Development and Harmonization of Safety Education Program for Future Generation in Process Safety
The development of human resources is of prime importance for safety and security management of worldwide process safety environment. Recently, including the severe accident of the Fukushima nuclear power plants, we faced several accidents continually in large industrial facilities in Japan. After these accidents, most Japanese people feel anxiety to science and technology. We need to rebuild public trust in process safety. And we have a responsibility to convey what we have learned from experiences to the younger generation to provide them with safe working environments and protect people’s lives.
For the future generations, a steady and sustainable safety culture is important. How can we create and foster higher knowledge and wisdom into younger people? As a public institution of higher learning, we can contribute to this advancement by providing a positive environment through research and the passing wisdom to future generations. Okayama University is one of the leading universities in Japan, and we have established an education and research center related safe and disaster-resistant society. Obviously we don’t have the sufficient number of experts in the field of process safety. We understand that our important role is to challenge the keen social issue and to supply well-educated professionals and technicians continuously.
In this paper our activities and challenges on post-graduate studies will be discussed. Since 2008, we have run the project “Engineering Research and Education on Safety and Security under Low-level Radiation Environment”. Its main aim is to give a solution to the urgent requirement of human resources with high level skill and knowledge on low-level radiation environment. Master and Doctoral education course program on this topic was already established. The duration of the project is 4.5 years (Oct. 2008 – March 2013). This project was granted by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. These courses were in 3 graduate schools of Okayama University, i.e. Graduate School of Health Sciences, Graduate School of Environmental and Life Sciences and Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology. Teaching staffs were not only from Okayama University but also from other Japanese Universities (TITEC, Osaka Univ. and Fukui Univ.), Chugoku Electric Power Company and JAEA. Also foreign professors and researchers were invited for this education program. Lectures prepared by JNEN (Japan Nuclear Energy Network supported by JAEA) are offered to students by use of private network education system. In January 2014, Okayama University established "Center for Safe and Disaster-Resistant Society" due to enhance and to extend this program that can cover more widely topics.
To manage this Center Okayama University prepared Steering Committee, chaired by Vice President (in charge of Education). This committee was organized and started its function to check curriculum for the improvement for Master and Doctor Courses and to verify progress of research plan. From April 2015, new special program course for graduate school is started: “Toward a Safe and Disaster-Resistant Society”.
We prepared these education courses for Master and Doctor as to reflect new knowledge and technology obtained through wide-range researches on 1) risk communication , 2) accident prevention based on risk management, 3) safe and secure management of large-scale facilities. We have an educational network of the universities that have cooperated with related organizations to educate students as professionals with a higher sense of ethics.
We need effective leadership as key when the chemical plant will be controlled under non steady conditions. When we will correspond to a crisis, a quick decision is required. The information including risk must be shared by all stakeholders. An accident of chemical plant causes profound effects on the broad region. It is our essential purpose to cultivate the safety culture in each engineer and stakeholders through our education program.
We have already started to cooperate with domestic and international organizations. It is also our scope to contribute to local governments, NPOs, Okayama-based companies. We also organized international seminars to educate young scientists and engineers. The graduate program has benefited from international events such as the International Joint Workshop. Younger faculty and graduate students should be encouraged to participate at these events.
The center has successfully contributed to the progress of cooperate with domestic and international organizations. The exchange of students and researchers related the present effort have positive result of interactions and networking. This should be strengthened through scientific exchanges of both students and younger professionals. It is shown that multidisciplinary discussions are very fruitful and promote common understanding.
Now, Japanese people are saying that we are facing to serious situation in order to keep the potential of skills of safety which we have gained experience in past several decades, since Japanese working population will surely decrease in future. On the other hand serious accidents have been continually occurring in large industrial facilities in Japan. Once a severe accident occurs, it may increase the risk of serious damage to employees and the residents of local communities. Our society needs to be assured about the safety and reliability of industrial facilities to prevent accidents. Though, every person may have a different sense of values, which ultimately lowers social awareness and creates difficulties in partnership. To construct a safety culture for all persons, safety education is especially important. All members belonging to the Center for safe and Disaster-Resistant Society eager to cultivate the safety culture in each engineer and stakeholder through our education program.