Where do I start for Safety and Risk Management?

I often get asked “where do I start in risk and safety management?”

In the first instance, it’s really all about asking the right questions, but what are they? Let me share with you some of my top tips in this Vlog.

Ask yourself the following questions in relation to your Organisation:

Do you know what is Risk and how it can affect your business?

I’m sorry if this is somewhat of a patronising question. Quite often when I visit Clients, they tend to talk a lot more about safety or hazards and they don’t really understand the relationship between risk, consequences and likelihood. It’s really important to ask this question and ensure there is alignment with the terminology and language.

Do you know what the risks are within your business / operations?

Of course, you know what the different pieces of the jigsaw are within your business. But do you know how those pieces are going to impact particular facets, activities and operations?

Have you established/ tagged what the risks are i.e., internal or external?

Ask yourself the question are they internal or external risks?

I’ve done a separate Blog and Vlog on this. Please take a look because internal are ones that you can control to a large extent but external risks are ones that you cannot control (e.g., politics or economic circumstances).

Do you have any processes, policies or methods that can help determine the impact of these risks (i.e.,  Risk Assessment)?

Have you establish clear guidelines practices policies procedures (whatever you want to call them) about how are you going to not just identify them but also assess risks?

Every organisation is different and your organisation might have a different acceptance (or tolerance) criteria compared to someone else in the same sector.

So it’s very important to make sure that you have a process in place to assess the risks.

Do you have the necessary expertise, knowledge and resources to address  the risks identified?

Quite often we set off very ambitiously assessing risk.

But then we are confronted with several challenges like establishing likelihood or consequences. Discussions can soon become heated debates with some arguing that there are really no consequences and some arguing that there are a lot.

Your organisation needs to be in a position where you can navigate successfully.

In this respect, it’s useful to have a third party involved that’s external. That doesn’t mean an external consultant and you could just involve people from the business who are totally neutral. This will allow you to assess the risks with a different lens/ a different perspective.

What Next?

What next is really up to you.

Sometimes you might be very ambitious and try to mitigate all risks in one go! Or, you might be more pragmatic and just focus on the top-10 in year 1 because they’re the only ones that you have the resources and capabilities to manage effectively.

My advice (sounds obvious) is:

  • Focus on what you can do.

  • Don’t bite off more than what you can do.

  • Focus on the heavyweight items i.e., the high-profile items.

  • Allocate resources.

  • Make sure that risks are tracked

  • Make sure you have good performance indicators in place.

Before you know it…you’ll be on that winning streak which will give you a really good push start towards risk management and answering that question “where do I start”… 

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