Advanced Health and Safety Management must not only consider legal compliance and people protection but must expand into Corporate Risk Management which has the objective to control risks that have the ability to adversely affect the well-being of the corporate body.
An essential consideration in the successful administration of any organisation is the corporate management of risks to the business. These risks exist in all organisations, large or small including those are considered highly successful. In the latter case, one of the most dangerous risks could be complacency. No business is ever standing still, it will be either expanding or contracting, or enhancing its position in the marketplace or otherwise. In the modern world of commerce and business, there is an ever-increasing number and types of risks that can, if not managed properly, blow an organisation off-course or sink it.
If we are serious about wishing to develop good practice in safety and risk management we must be willing to learn from others as well as from what has happened to others. Remember that some people never learn from their mistakes, but, the wise do. However, the really wise will learn from the mistakes of others and apply the lessons learnt. The cross-fertilisation of lessons across disciplines and types of businesses is an art which is well worth learning, e.g. much can be gained by viewing recent major accidents and understanding how many of them came about through not ‘managing changes’.
If we leave everything to luck then safety and risk management is a meaningless exercise. Invoking luck obscures the truth because it separates an event from its cause.
When a person or organisation is considered to be unlucky we relieve the person or management from any responsibility for what happened. When we say someone or some organisation has good luck we deny them the credit for the hard work which might have led to the successful outcome. Is it fate or choice that decides any outcome? Until we distinguish between an event that is truly random and an event that is the result of cause and effect we will never know.
The essence of good safety and risk management is in maximising the areas over which we have some control, while minimising the areas where we have absolutely no control over the outcome. In this latter case, the linkage between effect and cause is hidden from us.
From the moment we are born, risk is a major factor in the world in which we will live, breathe and have our being.
Risks surround us like the air we inhale.
To survive in any risky environment, we must have the ability to identify, quantify and assess, so far as we can, the degree of risks we face and then maximise our efforts in finding solutions to effectively deal with them.
Advanced health and safety management requires health and safety practitioners to expand their thinking into the world of corporate risk management and, in doing so, will find that many of their skills and experiences can easily be converted into successfully dealing with corporate risks.
“We cannot build a reputation on our dreams but only on our actions”.