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Evaluating Your Daily Risk Assessments

Decisions sign in the skyA semi-truck recently crossed a median and collided with a bus full of college-bound teenagers on a tour of a university. At least 10 people were killed in the crash and resulting fire, and dozens more were taken to the emergency room. As well as we may be doing, as much as we try to prepare, this tragedy illustrates how we are all one moment, one decision, one failure away from heartache.

We all take calculated risks each moment of the day. We constantly make both conscious and unconscious decisions on how to act: each of us making about 28,800 risk assessments in an average work day (one each second). We know that an incident can occur in a split second. Getting the risk analysis right most of the time isn’t good enough. One error in a day, a month, or a year can have a catastrophic outcome. The 28,799 good choices made in a day don’t matter if there is a single failure.

Similarly, no amount of company policy, federal and state regulation, or supervision can prevent these incidents. The employer of the semi is widely recognized for having a model safety program with a first-rate track record. We need full engagement of every person in our company in planning and analyzing their work tasks. The best safe work solutions don’t come from the office, from the company handbook, or from the boss. The best solutions are the safe choices, the work plans, and the seemingly minor process improvements made by the person most centrally involved in the task.

Armed with this knowledge, you can see that the only person you know can keep you safe is yourself. Nobody wants to get hurt, so how do injuries happen then? The reality is that we can only make a safe decision when we recognize the risk in the alternative. We often only recognize those risks when we take the time to consider them. So work to protect yourself by staying alert, communicating with those working around you, and thinking through your tasks and acting on those risk assessments.

Faith Technologies has implemented the Operational Risk Management (ORM) process designed to help us raise ourselves above basic compliance to perform at a truly world-class level. Getting there means each of us taking the time to assess our work for risk (unsafe decisions, unsafe conditions, and unsafe systems) and then mitigating those risks while we work. That’s what ORM is all about. 

  • What’s a risk you might have overlooked today?
  • What would the consequences be, however unlikely the event?
  • What specifically can you do to protect yourself from that risk?

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