What are YOUR critical risks?
Every business owner needs to understand the risk profile of their company. You need to know which hazards warrant the most attention and effort. This will vary from one organisation to the next, even within the same industry. Your operations, equipment, people and environments are unique to your business.
Can you confidently state the top five or ten critical risks for your organisation? If not, you've got work to do...
So, what should you do now?
First and foremost - Involve your workers in risk management.
Sure, it's a legal requirement, but more importantly it makes good sense! The people who are best equipped to identify, understand and deal with your workplace risks, are the people who face them on a daily basis - so get them engaged.
Of course it's valuable to have a competent manager or consultant facilitate the process, but their role is to draw the information out of the workers. We need to stop dictating from upon high, how work should be done, and start asking workers about how they actually carry out their work.
If you need a facilitator to help you with this process, click the button below to request a free consultation...
What does risk management look like?
The below flow-chart depicts a risk management process. You can read more about risk management in WorkSafe's guidance here.
If they're so important, why don't we focus more on critical risks?
There are many reasons we've been distracted from what's most important, but one of the main contributing factors is the bastardisation of various 'Incident triangles' or 'accident pyramids' over the years.
These incident models are often [incorrectly] cited as demonstrating a proportional relationship between minor and major incidents, expressed as a ratio. E.g. for every 300 near-misses, there will be 29 minor injuries and 1 serious injure/fatality. The below diagram illustrates several examples.
Theories on incident frequencies:
Consequently, some organisations focus a large proportion of their efforts on reducing the number of unsafe acts and minor incidents (aiming at the bottom of the triangle), believing this will reduce the chances of a more significant incident occurring.
The problem is, the relationship between the near-misses and the fatality simply doesn't exist in the way the pyramid implies.
In reality, the events at the top of the triangle very rarely have underlying causes that overlap with those further down the triangle. The supposed ratio between the two is nothing but a dangerous myth that leads organisations to misplace their resources; we need to reassess which hazards and interventions are worthy of our efforts rather than chasing the low-hanging fruit.
For example, if we focus on reducing small cuts and minor trips, we are not going to impact the likelihood of a major explosion - there is simply no causal link between the two. More importantly, if we are expending our limited resources trying to reduce minor incidents and non-events, we risk missing the critical risks!
It's time to stop the bureaucratic madness and start focusing on activities that ensure we are proactively managing the risks that can hurt us the most.
Contact Tania now if you need assistance to identify and manage your critical risks.
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