Mitigating Threats and Uncovering Opportunity: Learning About the Complexity of Risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the concept of risk-based thinking to worldwide attention. The global scale of the pandemic and the indiscriminate way in which the virus is transmitted mean that risk experts must consider a vast number of risk profiles when calculating the threat.

Consider this: COVID-19 can be transmitted from anyone to anyone, which means every single person on the planet is at risk. Yet the nature of the virus and the different contexts in which people live mean that not everyone shares the same level of risk. Elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions are at very high risk of serious complications from COVID-19, while young, healthy people are at a much lower level of risk.

The economy is facing an extreme risk from the disruption to the labor market and mandatory isolation of consumers who would normally be out spending money, yet fully digital enterprises like … Read more...

Why Risk-Based Thinking Should Be Part of Your Quality Management System

While the concept of risk is easy enough to understand, figuring out how to apply it to your organization can be somewhat more complicated. Learning how to manage the effect of uncertainty in such a way as to determine the impact on how value is created and sustained requires a deep understanding of your organization’s processes. Many organizations are tempted to avoid these difficulties by ignoring risk management altogether, which can lead to cost overruns, time delays, waste, rework, or even to more serious problems that have an impact on health and safety or the environment.

Fortunately, ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems (QMS) can provide some much-needed guidance on how to make risk-based thinking the cornerstone of your QMS. ISO 9001:2015 incorporates risk-based thinking throughout to help your organization make better quality decisions that anticipate and prevent process problems. It also incorporates the high-level structure of Annex SL to … Read more...

The Campbell Institute Releases Strategies for Injury and Fatality Prevention

Organizations that pursue strategies to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities have reached a level of maturity in their safety management systems that allows them to identify the most serious risks to workers.

The Campbell Institute, the global Center of EHS Excellence at the National Safety Council, has released a new white paper, Designing Strategy for Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention – the second in its series on this emerging safety trend. The report shares the perspectives of 11 Institute member and partner organizations on a variety of topics surrounding the development of their serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention strategies and long-term goals, including metrics, tools, communication, and performance.

“We’re finding that organizations pursuing SIF prevention strategies have reached a level of maturity that goes beyond focusing on near misses and injuries to identifying the most severe risks,” said John Dony, director of the Campbell Institute. “Organizations working on SIF … Read more...

Don’t Let Your Incident Management System Sink Like the Titanic

Ask a group of people what caused the Titanic to sink and most will say, “An iceberg.” In reality, the Titanic tragedy was caused by a series of events—management failures, poor-quality construction, employee errors/lack of training, poor planning, and either failure to track incidents or the inability to analyze incident data in a meaningful way—that ended with the sinking of the ship.  

As explained in the new Insight Report, The Five Things You Need to Know about Incident Reporting and Management,” safety and environmental disasters rarely occur because of a single event or incident, which is why it’s critical to adopt an incident management system that identifies root causes and protects your business from future occurrences.  

Workplace incidents can be painful for injured employees, the environment, and your organization’s bottom line, but incident management and reporting doesn’t have to be a pain point for you. 

Effective incident reporting and risk management … Read more...

Compliance at the Speed of Risk

I recently read that risk management begins and ends with decision making. Perhaps this is right, but I believe not in the sense that this statement was originally made. Risk management is more than just identifying the value at risk and deciding which is the best option. While this is important it is only half of the story.

Every plan, every project, every business endeavor operates in the presence of uncertainty and this uncertainty creates the opportunity for risk. This affects decision making, of course, but also affects how a company is organized, structured, the systems and processes that are put in place, and the culture it needs to contend with uncertainty as they make progress towards their goals and mission success.

Unfortunately, up until now, many companies build their defenses around disparate management systems implemented across functional silos and reinforced by reactive behaviors. This creates the possibility for risk … Read more...

Risk-Based Thinking: Where to Begin

What is Risk?

Risk can be defined as “the effect of uncertainty on outcomes” (ISO 31000) or, alternatively, as “anything that can prevent an organization from achieving its objectives” (Kendall, 2017). Managing risk means taking responsibility and exploring uncertainty. Successfully addressing risk means making decisions that further an organization’s mission and goals. This framework is fundamental to ensuring effective quality management.

Hazards and threats are sources of risk. Hazards, which are situations with the potential to result in injuries, damage or harm, can be physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, psychological, political or social. Hazards can become threats if (and when) they are activated. For example, a virus (computer or biological) may be a hazard, but it only becomes a threat if you might be impacted by it. The likelihood and severity of that impact on a particular person, place or thing determines the risk.

What you can do to effectively manage

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4 Best Practices for Life Science Manufacturers to Manage Risk

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Managing risk for life science organizations is often seen as simply a way to achieve and maintain industry compliance, and not as a means to improving operational performance.

That’s far from the perception in other industries, where effective risk management also supports continuous improvement and competitive differentiation.

Industry leaders in risk management are committed to continuous improvement programs, which drive down risks on existing products. The reality today is that the changing nature of risks requires adopting effective strategies to properly prioritize and mitigate them.

Arguably life science manufacturers should adopt a similar approach that takes advantage of best practices from across industries.

To that end, manufacturers should focus on:

Using a single unified framework for risk management

A unified framework allows the ability to compare risks, and execute continuous improvement measures. Many possible risk models exist, such as failure modes/failure effects/causes/controls/verification, or hazards/harms/controls/consequences. A unified model allows manufacturers to … Read more...

EHSQ Community | Risk Management

This month our member Varun Anand shares a post about Risk Management Program (RMP) rule revisions, a while member Mark Mann discusses creating plans for Workplace Violence Prevention. We invite you to join our Environmental, Health and Safety, and Quality professional community, and share your knowledge with other members.

  • To the Inventor of Zero Accidents: Thanks for Nothing! by Terry L Mathis

  • Workplace Violence Prevention by member Mark Mann
  • Risk Management Program (RMP) rule revisions by member Varun Anand

  • Webinar: Your Path to a Safer Jobsite: How Mobility Can Transform Your EHS Program by member Jamie Young

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Why Workplace Fairness is Critical to Building Safety Culture

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Many workplace leaders underline the importance of having a “safety culture”, but beyond the statements, policies and procedures, what are the key elements that make a workplace culture truly safe?

A prerequisite to creating a safety culture is to establish a culture of fairness characterized by respect and dignity for each workplace participant. This is because a culture of safety requires that employees believe they will be treated fairly and are safe to speak up about mistakes or safety risks.  Unintentional errors and unsafe acts will not be punished but used as learning experiences.  Furthermore, reckless or deliberate unsafe acts and unjustifiable risks will be punished.

Unsafe cultures are characterized by the fear of speaking up about safety hazards or risk because of fear of reprimands or sanctions and the related threat to one’s psychological safety. Unsafe workplace cultures also include those that view safety as a cost rather than … Read more...

Proposed Revisions to Heat Illness Prevention Standard, FAA Expands Safety Reporting, US Army Teaches Employers About Safety and More on EHS This Week!

On this week’s edition of EHS This Week we’ve got the week’s top stories in environment, health and safety news:

  • California proposes revisions to the Heat Illness Prevention Standard
  • Workers with second job face increased health risks
  • FAA expands safety reporting program
  • USDA issues guidance to inspectors on reporting workplace hazards
  • US Army explains how businesses can improve safety

Remember to write us with your suggestions, questions and comments. Also, if you are an industry expert and ever want to take part in the program, we’d love to have you.

Until next week, enjoy the program!

EHS This Week Resources

For more information on the stories and resources mentioned in this week’s podcast, check out the links below.

  • FSIS Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection Final Rule. View it here.

[audio: 2014/08/EHSTW081514.mp3]… Read more...