RSM scientific member of Safety Delta Netherlands

Representatives of science, government and the (petro)chemical industry signed an e-Covenant Safety Delta Netherlands (SDN) in October 2020 to make the Dutch (petro)chemical industry the safest in the world by 2030. Pursey Heugens, professor of organisation theory, development and change at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), signed on behalf of RSM. The objective of this covenant is to continuously improve the internal and environmental safety performance of the (petro)chemical industry in the Netherlands and to contribute to the pursuit of zero incidents.

The SDN will focus on the development of innovative security concepts for BRZO companies (companies under the revised European Seveso Directive, Seveso III). An SDN Innovation Centre is now being set up to initiate innovation and research projects on the topics of corrosion under insulation, leak detection and human behaviour. In addition, an SDN Knowledge Centre will assure that all stakeholders can share knowledge about safety. 

Behavioural science can impact safety

RSM has a lot of knowledge to share that links up with this initiative. “The behavioural scientists at RSM study behaviour in organisations. Behaviour derives from interaction between hardware, software, and mindshare,” says Prof. Heugens. “Our research assesses how machines, set up and lay-out influence human behaviour and what needs to be done to optimise this and ensure maximum safety.”

These findings will be shared in the different projects of SDN under the leadership of project manager Dr Martin de Bree.

RSM also does research in the domain of warehousing and storage of hazardous substances and material handling, as well as on the influence of behavioural characteristics and outcomes in operational settings. There are also research projects about managing standardisation within companies and modern supervision, governance, business integrity and ethics, influence of behavioural characteristics and outcomes in operational settings; as well as up to date ways of supervision, governance and business integrity.

Prof. Heugens concludes: “Safety is obviously of key importance to society. This makes participation with the SDN perfectly in line with RSM's mission to be a force for positive change.”


The SDN Covenant was signed today at a digital meeting by the following participants in the covenant: the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Safety First Foundation, Delft University of Technology, RSM, 4TU Center for Resilience Engineering, national institute for public health and the environment RIVM, and research institute TNO.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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