Operational / process improvement

Risk isn’t just about the SHEF, security and / or people (HR) issues in your organisation. It is present in every area of and activity undertaken by your organisation (e.g. financial risk, supply chain risk and probably, most influential of all, reputational risk) and most senior managers need to be aware that there are only four ways of dealing with risk, being:

  •   Avoidance – just don’t take the risk in the first place
  •   Transfer – let someone else take the risk (e.g. insurance)
  •   Reduction – mitigate it to the lowest level possible
  •   Acceptance – live with it

Taking risks is always a bit of a gamble and the odds can be heavily oriented against the risk taker! However, operational / process improvement makes those odds much more favourable so, where the Client instructs, the RS+ approach involves:

  •   Process identification and mapping
  •   Removal of waste, unless it provides a critical safety control or adds value
  •   Streamlining and / or integrating processes

This isn’t new though and you may have heard of LEAN, already? Unfortunately, although this methodology, used alone, improves process efficiency and effectiveness, very well, it can also increase the risk(s), elsewhere.

Our approach assesses the existing risk(s), without upsetting the processes and at the same time, does not introduce more or additional risk. It’s aimed at removing complexity, creating consistency of delivery and also addressing external industry-specific compliance requirements.

At a strategic level, this normally requires the development of an integrated management system (IMS), referred to above and a senior management commitment, to seek continual improvement.

At middle management and / or supervisory level, it requires a full appreciation and understanding of risk management principles and the ideology of embracing failure reporting, as a means driving the continual improvement sought.

At the operative / worker level, it requires a departure from slavishly following ‘the rules’ and a change of culture, whereby they can adapt to changing circumstances, without finding a ‘work-around’ or shortcut. This is behavioural safety, where all individuals understand that they are solely responsible for their own behaviours, including whether or not they “turn a blind eye” to neighbouring sub-standard practices.

Underpinning this approach is a process known as dynamic risk assessment (DRA), which formalises the missing element of ‘generic’ (i.e. strategic) and ‘specific’ (i.e. supervisory) risk assessment, by involving the operatives / workers, directly.

DRA is not a licence to break the rules but a formalisation of situations that don’t quite fit the traditional approach and requires three essential elements to work, as follows:

  •   Commitment from the principal / senior management team (SMT) as it simply won’t work without it; and
  •   Training of all staff, at every level, to allow them to operate safely, outside of the standard operating procedure (SOP) rules; and
  •   Formalised feed-back loops (i.e. debriefing), to facilitate the flow of information

This process works best where circumstances are constantly changing (e.g. construction activity and maintenance operations etc.) or under emergency conditions.

Just call 0845 430 9461, email info@riskandsafetyplus.com or complete the contact request form, to find out more.