All facilities face potential risks that, left unchecked, can put workers, occupants and goals of a business in jeopardy. Building managers, construction managers and their teams are responsible for securing these risks and upholding safety in a facility and on the work site.
But what is the true importance of risk management? What steps can facilities and construction crews take to mitigate risk on the job and in the field? Here’s what five industry experts had to say on risk management best practices.
Risk Management Insight from Five Industry Professionals
Insight from a Safety Expert: “It is our job as business professionals to control and minimize risks to an acceptable level.”
Meet the Expert:
Gary Bonnett serves as the Quality, Health and Safety Environment (QHSE) Director at BOS Solutions, a company that specializes in safety- and technology-based solutions for solid and liquid waste separation management. Bonnett is also an iAuditor Champion for SafetyCulture, an organization that aims to help companies achieve safer, higher quality workplaces through innovative, low-cost, mobile-first products.
AkitaBox: “Why is risk management important?”
Bonnett: “Everything has risk. It is our job as business professionals to control and minimize risks to an acceptable level. Uncontrolled risk can negatively affect businesses in many different ways — none of which lead to safe work environments, efficient processes or optimal profitability. Risk Management is a must in all aspects of business if you want to achieve longevity, profitability and sustainability.”
Insight from a Security Expert: “Everyone wants to feel safe where they spend ⅓ of their lives.”
Meet the Expert:
Todd Thiede is the owner of TLT Defense, an organization that provides educational classes that teach and demonstrate what to do during an active shooter or threat situation. As a U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) certified instructor, Thiede teaches best practices for self-protection in a variety of dangerous workplace situations.
AB: “What is the best way to approach risk management in a business?”
Thiede: “The best risk management strategies are taught on a case-by-case basis. Not all employees are the same. Not all management is the same. But as a whole, risk management is important for the safety and security of all employees and management. Everyone wants to feel safe where they spend ⅓ of their lives.”
AB: “What protocols does your organization follow to keep staff, occupants and visitors safe from harm?”
Thiede: “My company teaches risk management and safety to businesses because we feel it is necessary that everyone handles workplace violence correctly. We teach all phases of work violence management. The Run, Hide, Fight protocol that FEMA teaches is the most common workplace violence training there is, but we’ve expanded upon this framework.”
AB: “What are the best ways to expand upon FEMA’s Run, Hide, Fight framework?”
Thiede: “Every business is different, but TLT Defense divides the framework into three sections and expands upon each one to make it stronger. Phase one is before violence occurs. This is where we focus on building security, personal security, situational awareness, de-escalation tactics and how to alert authorities.
Phase two is during a crisis situation. We explore the Run, Hide, Fight framework, but also expand on how to exit the building safely, secure your location, defend yourself with or without a weapon, and protect the innocent.
The third and final phase is after a crisis situation. This phase explores how to administer first aid, assist victims and interact with emergency response teams. We also teach Witness 101, which teaches best practices for recalling details of the incident. Lastly, we cover how to interact with the media after a crisis situation.”
Insight from a Construction Expert: “Always be aware of your surroundings and never assume anything.”
Meet the Expert:
Alex Berezowski is the Owner and General Manager of The Foundation Experts Inc., a foundation repair and home waterproofing company. The company strives to provide the highest level of product and service for foundation repairs to homeowners in the greater Ottawa region.
AB: “In the construction industry, what types of risks do you face while on the job?”
Berezowski: “A significant hazard we face is the fact that we often work in tight spaces. For the most part, there's a lot of traffic going on in a small area, so it's essential for team members to have a high level of spatial awareness. Since there are a lot of high-powered machines and even chemicals in the area, it’s important to be aware of where everything is. In other words, always be aware of your surroundings and never assume anything.”
AB: “How do you go about mitigating risk on the work site?”
Berezowski: “Worksites can have a lot of dust and toxins flying in the air, which is why wearing proper equipment is critical to construction safety. It's also better to be safe than sorry, so if you're not sure, use them anyway. Always use protective eyeglasses, gloves and steel toe boots.”
AB: “What risk management best practices would you recommend to other businesses?”
Berezowski: “A great way to avoid accidents is to hold a safety meeting at the start of each day. Ensure everyone has an understanding of the work that needs to be done and how to do it safely. Also, don't be afraid to share the details of the dangers and the consequences that will follow if they do not properly follow the instructions. By staying organized and having a good sense of spatial awareness, you’re not only putting yourself in the safest position, but also the most productive position possible.”
Insight from a Business Expert: “The right training is crucial for promoting successful risk management.”
Meet the Expert:
Nina LaRosa serves as the Director of Marketing at Moxie Media, a New Orleans-based company that provides training and safety resources for various businesses and industries. Moxie Media provides safety DVDs, eLearning courses, OSHA signs, placards, decals and a variety of other products and resources to help businesses meet industry and government regulations while also assuring employee competence.
AB: “What are the greatest advantages of risk management in the workplace?”
LaRosa: “Risk management is important for organizations because it helps to determine objectives and safety procedures for the future. Our company considers risk management a very important issue for any business. Setting objectives without taking risks into consideration can cause issues, especially when these risks come into play unexpectedly and a company has no plan in place.”
AB: “What risk management advice would you give to other businesses?”
LaRosa: “To keep staff, occupants, and visitors safe from harm, we recommend you perform a Job Safety Analysis (JSA). A JSA allows you to prepare for potential safety concerns. It is composed of a three-step process that breaks down the steps of a job, checks for any potential safety concerns and determines how to minimize those risks. A job safety analysis can reduce the risks of incidents and hazards that have the potential to injure someone.”
AB: “What risk management recommendations can you give to other businesses?”
LaRosa: “The right training is crucial for promoting successful risk management. We recommend training supervisors and employees on performing a job safety analysis. Once the JSA is complete, you can use it to determine what safety training your workforce requires.”
Insight from an Insurance/Real Estate Expert: “In a world filled with frivolous lawsuits, it’s not just about having insurance as protection.”
Meet the Expert:
Robyn Flint is an insurance specialist at ExpertInsuranceReviews, an online resource designed to help consumers make educated decisions regarding insurance. Flint also is a licensed realtor, business owner of a direct sales company and the founding owner of Property Wise, LLC, a real estate rehab company.
AB: “What is the importance of risk management from an insurance perspective?”
Flint: “Risk management plays a part in protecting a company and its employees from potential injuries by reducing and eliminating risks. In a world filled with frivolous lawsuits, it’s not just about having insurance as protection; it’s also about providing education on how to be more alert to potential hazards.”
AB: “How do you handle risk management within your insurance company?”
Flint: “I work in a field that, by nature, can be dangerous. Homebuilding and construction, for example, each pose their own dangers. As a company that hires out for services, we always ensure that our contractors and those actually doing the work are insured and licensed. Checking licensure confirms that they have completed a certain number of training hours on risk management and safety. This protects the contractor and our company.”
AB: “What are the best technologies or strategies you use to promote successful risk management?”
Flint: “One of the best technologies is the Internet. It seems like a broad statement, but we are able to instantly look online to see if a contractor has a valid license. We can also check the effective date of the license, any expiration dates and if the contractor has had a license suspended. The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation is responsible for maintaining those records.”
Free Resources: Protecting Your Organization from Harm
Are you looking for more ways to mitigate risk and promote safety in your company? If so, start by reading the following free resources to learn more about pre-planning and crisis management.
How to Create a Business Continuity Plan that Works: A 5-Step Guide
Read tips for protecting your business from harm and crisis situations. You’ll learn how to conduct a business impact analysis, reduce identified risks and hazards, create risk mitigation guidelines and assemble recovery plans.
Business Continuity Plan Outline
Use this outline to guide the creation of your own Business Continuity Plan in advance of a potential disaster. You’ll find exactly what you need to create a business continuity plan that you can rely on.
Business Impact Analysis Questionnaire
This questionnaire will help guide the creation of a strong business continuity plan. You’ll find a clear list of objectives, directions on how to perform a business impact analysis, and a list of discussion questions to be filled out by department leaders.
10 Steps to Creating an Emergency Response Plan for Your Business
In an emergency, the actions you take within the first few minutes will largely dictate the severity of consequences to follow. Here’s how to create an emergency response plan, step-by-step.
Emergency Response Planning Checklist
This emergency response planning checklist includes methods for how to collect important emergency information, create and test your emergency preparedness plan, and guidelines on how to complete key tasks related to emergency planning.