We don’t have a crystal ball. And you can’t eliminate all risks. Accidents and incidents might happen. However, the best way to mitigate against risk is to prepare for it. Do everything in your power to identify potential problems. And put measures in place to control them.
It can be difficult to identify what lies ahead. Particularly if you aren’t well-versed in spotting potential risks and doing something about them. That’s where risk managers step in. In this article, we take a look at the importance of good risk management. We also explain why working with the pros is always the best plan of action.
What is risk management?
Every business should feel high levels of responsibility to look after those within their care. That includes employees, customers, visitors and any member of the public on site.
All businesses need policies and procedures that help staff to understand and follow risk management procedures. Without these documents it’s impossible to hold people to account, and prove your business did its due diligence to ensure risk management compliance.
Risk management means identifying risks that could arise and putting health and safety measures in place to control them. In some cases, these risks are identified during a risk assessment, which is a careful examination of what could go wrong and what extra precautions could be taken to guard against worst-case scenario.
Risk management vs risk assessments
Risk management isn’t just about filling in a risk assessment form, though. It’s about continually working to mitigate incidents that could harm your business. This includes consulting with internal and external stakeholders to ensure risk management processes are being communicated and followed effectively.
It’s possible for you to undertake a risk assessment yourself by trying to observe what could reasonably be expected to cause harm within your business and to whom. You must be able to identify which groups of people within your business might be at particular risk. There is guidance on the HSE website, trade association sites and within many manufacturer’s instructions. You could also turn to your accident and illness records to identify what has gone wrong in the past and what could be put in place to prevent this kind of thing happening again. You must record your findings and put your recommended changes into practical action. It’s no good just writing your ideas down if you don’t implement them.
Ultimately, though, it is easy to overlook some hazards (particularly long-term health hazards such as exposure to harmful substance) if you are at work every day, surrounded by these invisible risks. Risk managers offer a fresh perspective and an expert eye. They know exactly what they’re looking for, because they’ve seen similar issues impact businesses just like yours.
What are the key workplace risks to be aware of?
Businesses of every size face plenty of risks. Workplace risk is wide ranging, and different businesses must be aware of different types of risk.
The main risk categories within a workplace are:
- Safety hazards – could unsafe working conditions cause harm?
- Biological and chemical hazards – are staff or members of the public exposed to harm or disease from working with potentially dangerous materials?
- Physical hazards – could factors such as temperature or noise cause harm?
- Ergonomic hazards – could an improper working environment or equipment cause strain on the body?
- Psychosocial hazards – could workplace issues cause stress and other mental health problems both in the short and long term?
Appropriate control measures should be put in place to help you manage any of the above risks that are present within your working environment.
What does a risk management team do?
Risk managers do just that – manage risk. They identify what risks are more likely to disrupt your business or cause harm and help you to limit their potential effect on your organisation, staff and customers.
Implementing new risk procedures can be daunting. Dedicated risk management professionals can support you in planning for these procedures, implementing them within your business and training staff to follow them effectively. This will ensure you have done all you can to minimise risks from cropping up and causing chaos.
It’s true that strengthening risk management procedures and making changes to your business operations can sometimes be costly. But it can produce a priceless ROI if something does go wrong, as it will reduce if not eliminate fines, investigation costs and legal fees.
A risk management team are also able to advise on health and safety protocol if something does go wrong. They will encourage a pro-active response to any incident, making sure steps are taken so a similar situation does not occur again. They will also help your business to present this pro-active approach to insurers and enforcing authorities should a case be escalated.
Why is it important to work with risk management professionals?
Managing risk and keeping any exposure down to a minimum has a number of benefits. Obviously, the main concern is creating a safe environment for employees, customers and members of the public. Accidents and incidents can impact your business if output is lost, machinery is broken, or reputation is damaged. The consequences of an incident can be far-reaching.
Health and safety breaches can also cost your business a large sum of money. Having sound risk management procedures protects you from falling foul of regulations and potentially facing legal action. Here are just some examples of cost implications when action is taken against you by an enforcement authority.
Working alongside a risk management team may also help to reduce insurance costs. Insurers want to know that a business is a safe bet. If you can prove you’ve gone above and beyond to mitigate risks, it’s less likely there’ll be an incident that requires you to make a claim (or have a claim made against you). Thus, your insurer is more likely to look upon your business favourably when negotiating your premiums. This is because you can prove you’ve taken necessary precautions to prevent risk – and probably because you’ll have a healthier claims history (i.e. your sound risk management strategy will have helped you avoid and defend claims).
Here at the Romero Group, we have a dedicated team of risk management experts on hand to help our clients. This ensures the people we protect have complete peace of mind that they’re in the best possible position to defend a claim should the worst-case scenario happen.
Amidst today’s current climate, it’s more important than ever to protect your business and the people within it. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.