Sadly some businesses develop excellent risk management reports and design impressive looking plans which are presented to senior management (or to the auditors) and then get filed away. Therefore RISK ACTION TRACKING and MONITORING OF RISK ACTION EFFECTIVENESS is vital to the success of any risk management process.

This is where senior management can play a crucial leadership role. The actions identified in the risk management action plan should clearly describe who is responsible for implementing the action and a date by which the action must be completed. Where appropriate specific metrics should be included in the plan (for example – numbers of safety inspections per month, numbers of transactions to be checked in accounting audits, numbers of customers included in satisfactions surveys etc.).

Night time view of the Chemicals JV Formosa BP Chemicals Corporation

Night time view of the Chemicals JV Formosa BP Chemicals Corporation – While I was in charge of this construction project I carried out weekly risk and safety reviews on site – requiring all the local leadership team to accompany me as we toured the site trying to identify new risks or safety transgressions. My sometimes obsessive behaviour led some of my local colleagues to accuse me of being more interested in safety than profit.

A complete review of a risk subject’s risk list and action plan should be undertaken at an appropriate regular interval – often this is once a year. After the first year this can focus on trying to identify any new risks which have been forgotten previously, trying to improve any ongoing risk management action plans based on experience, and learning from mistakes during the intervening period (like risks which occurred but had not been appropriately identified in the previous review).

Leadership should schedule regular risk action review meetings in which the status of any outstanding actions from the last risk review are checked and delays or incomplete actions explained by the risk action owners.

FBPC President and Vice President present workers with shirts to celebrate a safe working milestone

Here I am (in 2006) as a rather brightly dressed company President together with the manufacturing Vice President presenting workers with shirts to celebrate a safe working milestone.  Actually the orange fire protection overalls where known as the SWAMP coats – before issuing them to all workers I had the rear printed with the slogan ‘Safe Work Activities Means Profit’ (OK and it just happened the facility was built in a swamp!).

Unannounced spot checks or audits of a departments risk process and its action plan can also help to keep the process alive in the minds of those involved. Ultimately if staff consistently transgress the process should be reviewed to check that it is not unrealistic in its expectations. If the risk action owners are unable to carry out their actions their capability should be checked. In some cases additional resources may be required to ensure important actions are completed properly. If someone deliberately transgresses and there are no appropriate mitigating circumstances then disciplinary action should be considered.

Good risk management is important for the safety of employees and neighbours, for the environment and for the long term financial success of any business.

On my personal site I often write articles about risks which may be useful in helping you to identify potential risk areas. If you would like to take a look at this please follow the link here. In addition to covering business risk some of the articles relate to personal and health risk (like recent ones about child liability on ski holidays and allergic contact dermatitis from laundry additives).

Chris Duggleby 

Safety Leadership through wearing the right shirt

Risk Leadership through wearing the right shirt – another free gift from the ‘Pres’ to celebrate a safety milestone (OK I admit it is a rather old photo!)


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