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As an EHS professional, your job isn’t just about responding to issues after they’ve already happened. If you only ascribe to reactive safety, you’ve already allowed a problem to fester. Your job is also about preventing things from going wrong in the first place.
And to do that, you need a robust system for risk management in the workplace.
Of course, you’re a safety professional, not a risk consultant. So while you might know your way around hazard analysis, risk management is a whole different ball game (remember, hazard and risk are two different things). Here’s a quick review of the risk management process in three easy steps.
If you want to manage your risks, you have to know what they are. Which means the first step in the process of risk management in the workplace is to identify and source your risks.
There are plenty of ways to identify risk. Three of the most common methods include:
For safety professionals, another great place to start is to analyze risks in direct relation to your assessed hazards. For example, if you identify job hazards like heavy machinery lockout tagout hazards, you can assess the risk of that specific hazard.
Once you’ve identified your risks, you have to analyze the root causes of risk. In other words, where does the risk come from? Once you understand the source of the risk, you can treat the cause of the risk rather than just the symptom.
Your next step is to measure and evaluate your risks. After all, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, and any incremental improvement will feel like a success.
One popular technique is a risk matrix, which contains a set of values to assess a risk’s probability and severity. Other simple methods include risk scoring, sensitivity analysis, and stress testing, to name a few.
However, your work does not end with measurement. You also have to evaluate each risk based on your level of risk tolerance. This will help you choose how to respond to the risk. Broadly, there are four ways to respond to a risk: accept it, avoid it, reduce it, or share it.
For example, based on your analysis and priorities, you might accept a risk as minor enough to tolerate so that you can focus on more pressing issues. You can reduce the risk by attempting to reduce its severity or likelihood of occurrence. Or, you could share the risk with a third-party partner to reduce the fallout of the risk or mitigate it more effectively.
Last but not least, you have to mitigate and monitor your risks.
How you mitigate a risk will depend on your chosen risk response. Either way, management will identify any gaps that need to be resolved for the desired risk response and resolve them to put the response into action.
From there, you have to continue to monitor your risk over time, using clear metrics of performance. This will give you an idea of how well your strategies are working and how you can improve them.
If you want to move beyond subjective risk management in the workplace, you need data. This will give you a clearer picture and enable you to make objective, analytical decisions.
That’s where we can help, with safety management software that makes it easy to collect the data you need and even easier to turn it into actionable results. Let’s take a safer approach to risk. Get in touch today to learn more about how our software can empower your risk management.
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