By Sphera’s Editorial Team | March 8, 2017

This blog is the third of a four-part series: Using Risk Ranking to Drive Behaviors, Efficiencies, and Insights

Most of the world never realizes the dangers inherent in manufacturing, storing and distributing materials required to support what we drink, eat, wear and use on a day-to-day basis. The key to taming these dangers lies in a robust and comprehensive risk-aware environment and strong fail-proof event reporting culture.

If something is wrong or looks wrong, it probably will go wrong and needs to be fixed right away. Hope is not a strategy. A near-miss simply postpones the inevitable with possible fatal or expensive consequences. It is much cheaper to fix the root cause sooner than later.

This mindset is front and center in Sphera’s recent webinar, “Using Risk Ranking to Drive Behaviors, Efficiencies and Insights,” jointly authored with an industry recognized client company. This participating company encourages its employees to stay alert at all times and to report events that not only have occurred, but also could occur if appropriate mitigating measures are not put into place. Management provides assurance to line staff that all reported incidents will be reviewed and prioritized (Event Management – Optimizing Mitigation Efforts.) Supervisors are trained to empathize with employees reporting the mistakes, and to focus on improvement measures. A simple diagnostic questioning approach of “What happened?” and “How do we fix it?” has evolved into “What can we do differently to mitigate root cause?” Readiness to blame attitude is replaced with that of curiosity and root-cause resolution.

Appropriate metrics are shared with personnel to provide them visibility on the progress. Staff is trained to report and categorize (Managing Quality in Your Event Reporting Process) events. Risk managers and the rest of the environmental health and safety personnel provide continuous feedback to ensure reporting quality is maintained at all times.

A right attitude supported by adequate resources and an effective governance model makes this initiative easy and efficient. On the flip side, a poor approach can lead to confusion, gaming and bad quality non-actionable events. Needless to say, the process becomes counterproductive when staff record events just for the sake of doing so. In the webinar, the team elaborates on four building blocks—business process, capability, technology and governance model—that collectively lay a strong foundation at this company to sustain this environment.

A well-documented process includes a comprehensive risk universe, scenario analysis, risk assessments, detailed workflows, business continuity and disaster recovery plans. Capability covers the training resources, accountability, reviewer and escalation hierarchy available to proactively prepare the organization and to handle incidents if and when they happen. Technology supports the workflows and makes it convenient to execute the responsibilities asked of every individual in the enterprise. Lastly, the governance model drives adoption by clearly defining the right objectives, establishing the right incentives and driving collection of the right reporting metrics.

I think this is the essence of environmental health and safety initiatives. A risk-aware environment drives and supports the right behavior consistently over a period of time, which automatically turns into a positive culture for the organization and keeps everyone around us safe.

Check out our webinar recording to find out how your risk culture compares with that of this leading organization.

Also Read Part 4 of this blog series: Event Management – Benchmark Metrics