Interview with knowledge broker Corine Baarends

Every month in our newsletter, we introduce you to a Safety Delta partner. This month, it is Corine Baarends! Corine is Knowledge broker for Safety Delta Netherlands. With her expertise from the chemical sector, she contributes to the project Better Learning from Incidents.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I am Corine Baarends, happily married and mother of four grown-up children. For more than 35 years I work in the chemical industry and since 2015 I am self-employed. My expertise is safety leadership, better learning from incidents and (process) safety management and I work for several clients in the chemical industry. I developed the Curriculum Seveso Top Leadership for SVV and the Process Safety Management Approach for the VNCI and I am Programme Manager of the Masterclass Safety Middle. Furthermore, I contributed to the content of the Guidebook on Better Learning from Incidents and I work as knowledge broker Learning from Incidents from Safety Delta Netherlands. Fortunately, I am also often on the shop floor as a safety coach.

Can you explain what the role of SDN knowledge broker entails?

As a knowledge broker, I am currently conducting the SDN pilot project Better Learning from Incidents, in which we provide companies with important knowledge, see where they stand and what the most practical and workable improvements are that they can get started with. As a knowledge broker, I bring substantive knowledge and practical experience that the companies need.

In your role as SDN knowledge broker, what is the biggest challenge for you in the "Better learning from incidents" project and how does this project help the industry?

My belief is that learning from incidents is an excellent 'vehicle' for a company to work on its safety culture, and it shows you what priorities you need to work on in order to stay ahead of serious incidents in time. Many companies spend a lot of time investigating incidents and dealing with them and have their hands full trying to meet all the obligations. I know from my own experience that they lack the time and expertise to work structurally on improvements. It is a great challenge for me to help them with my knowledge and experience to get this done.

What do you hope to achieve with the Seveso Top Leadership project?

The role of the Seveso Top Manager is crucial when it comes to company safety. The curriculum aims to ensure that they demonstrate safety not only in words but also in deeds: Engaged Leadership will have to become part of the Seveso Top Manager's DNA. The more involved the Seveso Top Manager is, the greater the chance is that the sector will sustainably improve its safety performance. Safety First therefore advises all Seveso Top Managers to follow the Curriculum.

And they did!

In early 2022, a new group of 12 participants will start and a training course at Chemelot is also on the agenda. Veiligheid Voorop hopes to start the next group at the end of 2022. You can register via Safety First.
In addition to the business community, the scientific community and the government also played a role in the development of the curriculum. The role of industry, government and science (triple helix) is now to work together, through cooperation and input, to make the curriculum the training that the Seveso Top Managers want to follow.

What does the recent safety deal "SVO 221026 - Involving almost BRZO companies effectively in safety" bring?

There are some 300 Almost BRZO companies in the Netherlands (also known as BEVI or Other Risk Relevant Companies), such as small chemical companies and companies that store hazardous substances. These are generally less robust in terms of safety management, usually have limited knowledge and are often not members of networks/branches. In addition, they are inspected less often. With this Safety Deal, VNO-NCW Midden and Brabant Zeeland intend to set up a practical and workable safety knowledge network for these companies in order to increase their knowledge and awareness of safety. The first results are expected before the summer of this year.

What could SDN do better and what should SDN continue to do?

There are many good safety programmes, but they are often of a theoretical and methodological level. The trick now is to convert these programmes so that companies can actually apply and implement them in their own business situations. SDN can be an important engine for this. Continue to stimulate innovations in safety in order to prevent multiple parties from working on the same thing. It is very important that the triple helix continues to cooperate and to listen to the needs of the sector.

What do you think is the added value of SDN for Dutch SMEs?

Personally, I think the added value is mainly in finding and connecting. The SMEs mainly need knowledge and experience and SDN adds value by facilitating this.

How do you see the process safety of Dutch SMEs in 10 years' time?

10 years is such a long time and I don't know what the world will be like then. I hope in any case that ethical action and work will be paramount and that with sustainable and safe companies, countries and communities, the world will be a better place than it is today.

Corine Baarends
Knowledge broker Safety Delta Netherlands
Date of publication:
3 February 2022