Tick, flick and forget. The absurdity of risk assessments without the conversation.
I’ve written about this before but I feel it’s important to keep saying something. Until we find better ways to involve people in the risk assessment process the real purpose isn’t likely to be achieved.
I remember looking at risk assessment forms and struggling to discern exactly what the activity was never mind the hazards and risks involved. I tried to design new forms that might present the relevant information and increase the useability of the documents. I reworked the risk matrixes, defined the likelihoods and consequences in better context thinking this would help.
I realised during this reinvention process that irrespective of the quality of the documents or their individual useability, without getting out amongst the people and the risks I was achieving nothing.
Now to some of us this sounds like an easy task so obviously those involved either don’t care or can’t be bothered, after all what will it change and what difference does it make. I know that’s certainly not always the case so there must have been something else that I was missing. I decided to ask a few questions, starting with what’s a risk assessment? The answers ranged from “a legal obligation” to “a form you have to fill in”. What’s the purpose of the risk assessment? Again answers ranging from “a requirement” to my favourite answer, “I don’t really know”.
I realised there and then that the reason people weren’t completing useful risk assessments and assessing risks was because they didn’t understand. It’s easy to preach to the converted but what about those of us who aren’t principally involved with risk and safety? The safety industry has created a very binary you’re either right or wrong stigma with risk, they also tell us its simple and patronise us for making mistakes. Note that these patronising comments are very easy to make after the fact.
So what would happen if instead of a new form I just explained the purpose? What would happen if I provided a safe environment where people could ask questions and feel safe to make mistakes? What if I encouraged people to ask questions and ask for opinions?
Risk assessments should be more than a form that no one looks at and no one understands. Risk assessments should be conversations, thoughts, questions and experience. They should be records others can learn from and use to start new conversations; not just a ticked, flicked and forgotten form!
Love to hear others thoughts,
For Further Reading:
A risk assessment is a form of strategic planning and strategy methodology. The process attempts to think about the future by reflecting on the past. Most strategies are built upon specific beliefs about the future unfortunately, the future is unpredictable. The worst risk assessment is the one that denies …… Enjoy the rest of the article >>>>>
Another great post by Keith McCabe on LinkedIn Pulse. I think establishing and understanding the reason for doing the assessment is important as is who the customer is – usually it’s not because we want to or for our own benefit! Also, establishing the context is something I rarely see done well – we all need …… Enjoy the rest of the article >>>>>
FREE RISK ASSESSMENT FORMS AND TEMPLATES Huge collection of free risk assessment forms, risk assessment templates, Risk Registers, Checklists, completed examples and risk assessment guidelines Download Our Free Risk Score Calculator: …… Enjoy the rest of the article >>>>>