Inside the “burn room” at the Chubb Risk Engineering Center, Cicero Aidar, Vice President, Risk Engineering Services, is demonstrating to a virtual audience of risk engineers how a common cooking ingredient like flour can, under the right circumstances, become nearly as combustible as gun powder. He starts by blowing air onto a pile of wheat flour. He then ignites a flame inches from the dust cloud, generating a flash fire that puts the dangers of combustible dust into stark focus.
This special hazard training session is among an array of virtual and in-person classes, programs, lectures and educational sessions offered at the Chubb Risk Engineering Center in Branchburg, New Jersey, all of which share the common goals of reducing risk and strengthening strategies that enhance safety.
Since opening its doors in 2019, the 14,000 square-foot sustainably sourced facility has set an industry standard for loss prevention training: It’s the only place in the world where property, casualty, worker safety, equipment breakdown and Internet of Things (IoT) training are all offered under the same roof. What’s more, the facility isn’t just for Chubb employees and clients – programs are available to outside organizations, from local fire departments, private businesses and nonprofits to agents and brokers.
The Chubb Risk Engineering Center is a signature resource for Chubb’s risk engineering organization, an in-house network of more than 400 risk engineers around the globe that helps businesses identify, anticipate and reduce risks. The team has deep expertise in areas such as real estate, medical device manufacturing, cleantech and ergonomics. With the Center, Chubb created an advanced, collaborative and interactive educational facility for the next generation of risk management.
“The Chubb Risk Engineering Center helps employees, including underwriters, claims adjusters and risk engineers themselves, keep up to date on the latest developments in risk mitigation so they can stay on top of their game,” said Aidar. “But it’s more than that: Representatives from businesses, municipalities, local fire department, agencies and brokerages have enrolled in programs at the Center. This broad spectrum of learners speaks volumes about the value and reach of the Center in promoting safety.”
From the beginning, the Center was designed to be a global facility that could conduct remote learning for risk engineers, underwriters, clients and others around the world. This capability proved essential when the pandemic hit in early 2020. To date, the Chubb Risk Engineering Center has held classes for participants hailing from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Italy, Peru and Sweden, to name a few. International programs include a fire detection presentation at the quarterly meeting of the Netherlands risk engineering association, ASPO. When the Center pivoted to an entirely remote curriculum, more than one in five learners were from outside the United States. In 2021, a total of 7,000 individuals participated in training programs.
When they can’t be there in-person, live-streamed classes keep learners current on the most effective ways to enhance worker safety and mitigate property risk. Inside the facility’s fire protection lab, real-time demos show how temperature impacts flammability, fire detection and alarm systems, fire sprinklers, standpipe systems, fire pump operations, and general fire prevention. Risk engineers create simulations of water leak events to show how a smart flow detector automatically shuts off the valve and sends an alert notification through an application on a cellphone.
Worker safety training programs cover the key issues that can impact peoples’ health and wellbeing, such as identifying ways to mitigate slips, trips and falls; proper ergonomic training in office and industrial environments; improving industrial hygiene; and reducing environment risks. The curriculum stays agile, responding to ever-evolving client needs and world events. For example, when the pandemic made remote work the new normal, the Chubb Risk Engineering Center was prepared with new training modules about work from home ergonomics.
“Our mission is prevention,” said Aidar. “The Chubb Risk Engineering Center is truly a one-of-a-kind facility that underscores our role as an industry leader. Every day, we’re working to show our employees, partners and local communities how to avoid potentially devasting outcomes that can break hearts and budgets.”
We've created an advanced, collaborative, and interactive educational facility for the next generation of risk management.