In the UK, there are currently 55 Cub Scout recognition badges ranging from Astronomer to World Faiths and everything in between.

Back in the day, around 50 years ago, I sported my own humble collection, which was probably tarnished by being part of the gang who locked Akela (or Mrs Breckenridge to her friends) in her office as a jape. But I digress.

The purpose of these badges is, according to the website, for boys and girls to ‘become an expert in something you love or try something shiny and new’. A practical supplement to Primary School Education. I found it fun, exciting, challenging and rewarding.

It seems to me that when we become adults, we are somehow expected to have completed our learning for life (40, 50, 80 more years?). No additional shiny or new things to love. A bit sad really. Also, a bit bad, as when we are adults, we are in the strongest position to do something about stuff that matters. Making life better for others, even and perhaps especially for those we haven’t met (~99.9999% of the world’s population). To address this, perhaps we could create adult activity badges for things both trite: "no less than two scars from craft related injuries" and not “still wearing a mask in a shop although your government has declared the COVID pandemic officially over”.

They could be profession specific. At the start of the 21st century, in the High Hazard Process Industry, we have entered a stable, low Process Incident frequency phase – effectively, a post war state. You could endeavour to get your Adult Professional ‘Process Safety Peacekeeper’ badge. There would be a checklist for which you would have to tick a certain threshold:

  1. Have you run an operator care program where operators are supported to act as owners of the equipment for which they're responsible?
  2. Have you visibly adopted HAZOP on your manufacturing plant?
  3. Have you maintain a rigorous system of maintenance inspection of your barrier safeguards?
  4. Is your organisational structure flatter and more fluid than it was 5 (10?) years ago?
  5. Have you have paid more than lip service to the audit report into a recent loss of containment incident?
  6. Do you recognise that any transition into an area of unfamiliar hazards should be treated with appropriate rigour and respect?
  7. Have you used your ‘smarts’ to nudge colleagues towards a better process safety sensibility?
  8. Have you induced uncertainty vigilance by the instigation of planned and communicated by unannounced audits and drills?
  9. Have you championed a zero-tolerance approach to fugitive emissions as a proxy for process safety enforcement?
  10. Have you identified your areas of greatest Process Safety vulnerability and targeted resources there?

 You scored 5 or more out of 10? Congratulations you’re now a Process Safety Peacekeeper!

Want to learn more? How about some advanced study, perhaps by attending my presentation entitled ‘Process Safety: Keeping the Peace in a post war Age.’ at this October’s IChemE Hazards 32 conference at Harrogate, England. I will attempt to map Process Safety learnings from Page Fortna’s book ‘Does Peacekeeping Work?’ in which she demonstrates for post conflict activity why and how UN Peacekeeping is successful in saving future lives:

Go on, there’s probably another badge in it for you.

safety badge