Developing Assurance in Risk and Safety
One of the learnings of the CLLR Due Diligence Program is the importance of developing assurance. A signature at the bottom of a risk assessment sometimes doesn’t mean much more than the person knows how to sign their name. Collecting multiples of risk assessments and signatures like some tier one companies do doesn’t demonstrate much assurance in court. There is a huge difference between actually developing assurance that people understand their risks and how they are managed and, collecting pieces of paper that give no assurance and are no protection should something go wrong.
The idea of assurance implies that one understands that systems (paper-based or people-based) ‘work’. This means that systems are understood and actually help workers tackle and manage risks and that the systems are understood by the workers and how their system help tackle risk.
One of the most consistent outcomes of the MiProfile survey (https://vimeo.com/24764673) is that workers believe that excessive paperwork is useless. Workers don’t make their daily decisions based on paperwork but rather on heuristics they have developed through experience. If a system helps workers think about their risks and give them skills to manage risks then well and good. But if systems and paperwork are a ‘tick and flick’ exercise they become dangerous and give a delusional confidence that risks are managed, when they are not. Nothing launches into luck better than a ‘tick and flick’.
Workers need to understand, have appropriate knowledge and skills to tackle risks in their activities. Managers and supervisors need to demonstrate and have assurance that workers have this understanding, knowledge and skill. This is the meaning of Due Diligence. I know some tier one organisations that have six layers of risk assessment in their business. This is so strange because in any other part of their business such excess would be deemed both uneconomic and inefficient. Any volume of excessive systems poses a significant impediment on comprehension for any business. No-one can fathom such multi-layered systems more so, all such layers of systems do is create deeper dependence on ‘tick and flick’.
A helpful video by Greg Smith demonstrates the problem http://ste-safety-legal.ispringonline.com/view/4890-7YYAh-0sYJx-11Tst/popup
If you want to know more about how to develop assurance that your systems are working you can contact Rob firstname.lastname@example.org or Greg email@example.com and they will be happy to offer you their Two Day Due Diligence Program to help your organization better tackle the issue of excessive systems and help you take practical steps from ‘tick and flick’ to developing assurance in risk and safety.