Security and Safety in High Risk Environments
Security and Safety in High Risk Environments Abstract: 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 realization. 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.
Recent I-J news stories concerning safety and security include the recent flooding in North Yorkshire, which prompted safety warnings (BBC News, AAA) and security concerns over British airports during the 2012 Olympic games (BBC News, Bibb). 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, ever 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 stables to prevent injury (Hardy, 2010). Individuals and organizations 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 organizations, some companies are prevented from conducting their business effectively, particularly organizations 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 organizations 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 organization must place great emphasis on defense 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 organization. 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, organizations must learn from existing safety and security arrangements and evolve them to the level that can withstand increased risks.
The majority of organizations consider safety and security as one discipline or evolve 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 organizational 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 organizations 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 organizational 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 organization 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 object 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 globalizes, security issues will become more prominent, u 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 it en or seen 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. 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 ill also identify and examine previous findings that can guide the proposed study.
According to Leeds and Armored (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 utilized, 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 afore moving on to an assessment of these issues in the context of separation and high-risk environments.