Risk Assessment – With Care
You report for work and enter the day’s briefing. The Foreman is addressing the team:
“The safety team have assessed the risks on this job, it’s all here in the Risk Assessment, you’ve all read it, and understand it and the Method Statements?
Good, then so long as we follow it closely we’ll all go home safely tonight, don’t forget to sign it, OK lets get to it”
Familiar enough? It is likely that an organisation that bothers to take time out to prepare detailed paperwork and brief staff are likely to be doing OK in the safety stakes.
Imagine if you will another scenario, a couple of friends are standing at the bottom of a cliff about to climb it, there is no paperwork, but there is a briefing of sorts, they work out who does what, where the strengths and weaknesses in the team lie and where the danger and the fun is to be found. What they are doing is potentially a very dangerous thing and their minds are very much alive to that danger.
In today’s society we are ‘protected’ from many dangers, warned about deep water, the risk of electric shock and barricaded away from big drops. How does risk assessment fit into this environment in your organisation? Do your staff go into a work environment which is dynamic and incapable of being completely safe thinking “It’s OK, the team leader has done the risk assessment and as long as I do as I’m told I’ll be fine” or are they aware?
Awareness is the key to many things, but especially safely getting through the day, I say awareness, not paranoia – which can be paralyzing.
So today’s message is paperwork will not keep you safe, only skill, experience, training and above all else awareness can do that