What is Risk Mitigation Planning?

Risk mitigation planning involves the development of choices and actions that will serve to reduce threats that undermine a project. The plan includes monitoring the progress of a project, identifying risks to its completion, formulating a plan to deal with these risks and evaluating the effectiveness of the plan.

These risks may include health and safety concerns and/or blocks to the completion of a project. These blocks may be deliberate or accidental, man-made or natural. Union picketing, torrential rains, equipment failure, employee error or theft of materials are just some examples of risk to a project’s completion.

Part of mitigating risks is doing a risk assessment. Organizations like the Occupational Health and Safety Association (OHSA) provide risk assessment materials and in-service.

Within the risk assessment procedure, businesses and organizations identify risks to employee health and safety as well as those that would interfere with project completion. Having identified hazards, businesses would analyze the situation and evaluate the risks. Next, the company would decide the most effective means of eliminating or neutralizing the hazard.

First steps include an assessment of the workplace, identifying objects, situations, and processes that could pose harm, to people and/or projects. Determining the likely-hood of a severe risk follows evaluating the risk. Finally, measures to effectively prevent or control the hazard are devised. OSHA has a Risk Checklist available to help business owners identify hazards, assess their level of danger and eliminate or mitigate them so companies reduce health and safety risks to their employees and/or remove threats or impediments to project completion, thereby making the business more efficient and profitable.

Why Consider Risk Mitigation?

Risk mitigation allows an organization or business to consider the best ways to devise an effective workplace health and safety plan through:

  • Awareness of workplace hazards and risks
  • People and projects which may be at risk
  • Existing control measures
  • Design a safety program that will prevent injuries or illnesses and avoid hazards that may prevent or delay work project completion
  • Analysis of present and potential hazards and risks

By mitigating risks, businesses can remove or reduce the risks of hazards to employees and the workplace. The environment becomes a safer and healthier and more productive place in which to work.

Mitigating Risks

There are several ways to mitigate risks—depending on the type and level of risk.

1. Elimination or Substitution

If a substance or process is dangerous it might be eliminated or a less dangerous one used instead.

2. Engineering Controls

Monitoring situations through mobile technology allows automatic intervention when a human or mechanical error occurs or levels reach dangerous territory. This occurs in nuclear plants and petrochemical refineries and the aeronautical industry.

3. Administrative Controls

Upper management may use mobile technology to alert them to risks so they can step in and mitigate the risk.

4. Personal Protective Equipment

By providing protective equipment and clothing for employees and insisting it be worn, enterprises reduce the risk of employee injury, illness or death.

Why Monitor?

It is important to check the accuracy and completeness of your risk assessment. When changes occur in the workplace new hazards or risks may also occur. Safety programs need to factor in these changes and respond to them.

Risk mitigation assessments should be reviewed on a regular basis. The need for a review may be indicated by:

  • The beginning of a new project
  • Work process changesIntroduction of new tools, equipment, machinery, locations or employees
  • New workplace setting or expansion of existing workplace
  • New chemicals, substances, materialsIntroduction of new technology

Risk Assessment Documentation

Accurate, detailed records of your risk assessment are vital. These allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of your safety plan and devise informed risk mitigation. Good records also allow the business owner to note similarities and take useful action.

What is a Safety Program?

The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) have, for several decades, concerned itself with worker safety in industries including construction. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, 1970, set out improvements in the safety at construction sites. Through their research they discovered that the most effective elements of a safety program were owner/manager support and the commitment of all stakeholders. The least effective elements were policy writing and record keeping. While they serve a purpose, they do little to mitigate risks.

What is Mobile Technology?

As the name indicates, mobile technology is first and foremost: portable. Included in the term are: laptop computers, smart phones, tablets, netbook, global positioning systems and wireless terminals for debit and credit payments.

How Mobile Technology Improves Safety Programs

With the rapid growth of mobile technology it has proven increasingly more effective in making safety programs more effective. Thanks to modern mobile technology, we can have early warning signs of weather-related risks, natural disasters, equipment overload or unauthorized persons breaching a workplace site. Mobile technology can also be set to indicate human error.

Natural disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, tornados, and drought are on the rise, thanks to global warming. Mobile technology allows meteorologists to track severe weather and send out continuous updates to allow residents to evacuate in a timely fashion should conditions warrant it.

Use of mobile technology allows businesses to quickly detect data breaches, network attacks, data theft, and interference with risk mitigation programs. Thanks to better technology, owners and managers can receive continuous progress reports and instant hazard alerts from anywhere in the world. Secure connections allow upper management to intervene almost instantly, handling complicated logistics problems from thousands of miles away.

Many mobile programs are aimed at early detection. For example: Sesame Workshop and Qualcomm have used a Wireless Reach initiative to launch a mobile safety program. The program helps young families learn about emergency response options.