ARCHIVED - Session 1 - Keynote Address on Risk Management

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Safety Forum - June 5-6, 2013

Kimberley Turner, CEO
Aerosafe Risk Management

How do you make management systems not “just another system”?

This is one of the most common areas where the introduction of management systems tend to fail - with the “system” becoming a series of tick box exercises which is not fully integrated into the organization. There are four key points to consider when designing and implementing a management system, whether it is for safety, risk or otherwise:

  1. The essential requirement for senior leadership to genuinely support and contribute to the management system:

    This comes through tangible support such as resources and attendance at relevant events, and intangible support such as allowing time for the management system to demonstrate its performance and requiring all line management to also champion the management system and integrate it into their activities.

  2. The management system needs to align with the organizational philosophy and goals:

    Often the ‘competition’ between the new management system and the operational objectives and company strategy leads to the management system being brushed aside. When a new management system is introduced, it needs to be shown as supporting and contributing to the organizational goals and philosophy. This may require an adjustment to the philosophy and goals, or it may simply be an evolution of the organization. This alignment will encourage all members of the organization to understand the role of the system and remove the competition (real or perceived) between the new system and the way things are presently done.

  3. Integrate with current processes and practices:

    Rather than making the management system an add-on, embed the management system in the everyday processes and practices of the organization. This increases the visibility, and when well designed, the management system will positively contribute to the daily activities of the organization as well as overarching organizational goals.

  4. Aim for success in the new management system by formally managing the change:

    Preparing for success of the management system will require formal, tailored and effective change management. There is a great deal of literature on this topic, however supplement the change management process with a structured use of the risk management process through venture risk management. This enables the uncertainty in achieving the objective of the change to be identified and proactively managed, increasing the chance of successfully implementing your management system.

Is there a role for certifying authorities and minimum standards in the design and assessment of management systems?

In high risk industries, such as oil and gas exploration and production, there will always be a role for certifying authorities and minimum standards for management systems. This forms a key element of the government regulator’s due diligence and oversight of industry to provide confidence to the public that safty and environmental protection is achieved. What needs to be considered is the best manner to achieve this, so outcome-based regulation and risk-based oversight are two aspects where authorities can adapt and make best use of their resources to oversee the industry. This also enables industry to be innovative and continuously improving their management systems to achieve the best outcome while maintaining safety and environmental protection.

Most people will believe they already have these systems, philosophies etc. already in place

While some organizations may believe that they have strong risk and safety management systems, the mark of effective implementation is the dedication to continuously improve through performance measurement and monitoring. For organizations who have implemented risk management, the “monitor and review” feedback loop provides the means to ensure that changes to the context and the effectiveness of the risk management practice are accounted for as pat of systematic process. I would suggest that the principles of risk management which are detailed in ISO 31000:2009 provide a valuable foundation for each organization to reflect on and see how their system compares.

Does a culture of safety mean striving for zero incidents within the organization?

Essentially an organization with a positive safety culture continually demonstrates the high priority of safety and the systems which support safety performance, such as planning, communication and education. This attitude transcends all levels of the organization, and influences the values and actions of all members to individually and collectively ensure the safety of operations. So striving for zero incidents is part of a culture of safety. However, by itself it is just one facet of safety values and behaviours.

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