In the workplace, risks may vary depending on industry, corporate governance, and task or role-based duties. Each industry and business may take a slightly different approach, but generally speaking, risk management typically follows these basic steps:
- Identify. This phase addresses business objectives are clearly defined and recognized by all stakeholders, as well as determining the appropriate strategy to mitigate risks. This is oftentimes outlined in a risk management plan. Further, your risk management plan should include training, checklists, and questionnaires to identify as many existing and potential risks as possible. Each risk should then be recorded (including details, such as the cause and effect of such risk) and categorized to ensure prompt and adequate action is taken to remediate the issue should the risk arise.
- Assess. This phase addresses the level of attention and action needed, which can be measured through qualitative (i.e., characteristics of risks) or quantitative (arithmetic approach to simulate potential outcomes from the risk) methods. Qualitative methods may include analyzing risk probabilities and potential outcomes to prioritize variations of risks. Quantitative methods might include sensitivity analyses or decision trees to unmask important risk factors and outline a response plan.
- Control. This is where your risk management plan should come into play. Controlling the risk entails response planning, which should include the three A’s: appropriate, achievable, and affordable. There are several different ways to respond to a risk. For example, a response may transfer or reduce the risk. So if a cyber-attack occurred, the response may be to deflect the response to a third-party cybersecurity provider. In this phase, it is also important to monitor and report the effectiveness of your risk management plan for the next phase.
- Review. As with any business or set of guidelines, frequent auditing of effectiveness is vital to continued efforts to improve the system or process. Risk, especially in a business context, is constantly changing, so the strategy and response should adapt to new and potential risk exposures.
The best way to address risks is understanding the current risks, identifying potential risks, and mitigating the risks to prevent injury or illness. Here are some common office workplace risks.
Slips, trips, and falls. These types of injuries can be caused from various different things, such as spills, wet floors, exposed cords, uneven ground, loose rugs, and disorderly areas. To prevent these types of injuries:
- Immediately clean up spills and other things that may cause a slipping hazard. Make sure to post warning signs to prevent further injury or spills.
- Clear congested areas of boxes or other objects that may block or confine a walkway.
- Cords should be properly secured and clear of walkways.
Workplace violence. This is oftentimes a subject many do not like to discuss, but it is something every employer should be prepared for. Workplace violence is divided into four major categories based on the individual’s relationship to the workplace:
- Individual is employed
- Individual is a client or customer of the business’s service(s) or product(s)
- Individual is not an employee but is involved with an employee
- Individual has no relation and strictly possesses criminal intent
To assist employers with preparing for a worst-case scenario, it is important to assess potential risks, such as public-facing roles, workplace conflicts, domestic violence, disgruntled employees (both former and current), positions dealing with money or valuable items, and high crime areas. Employers should look into available resources, strategize prevention and response plans, and ensuring proper policies and procedures are adapted.
Social issues and politics. Social injustice, equality, civil rights, and harassment are becoming hot topics in the workplace. It is critical for employers to have strategies and best practices for addressing workplace politics. In today’s atmosphere, employees expect their employers to address social issues. However, many companies may argue that there is a fine line between social issues and business. 52% of employees expect their employers to address social issues even if not vital to the organization’s business. To help indirectly address social issues and workplace politics, businesses may look to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Incorporating a diversity and inclusion committee can help mitigate risks and help address employee issues more effectively.
VensureHR has a team of risk management and compliance specialists who can provide industry best practices, resources and tools, and support for employers seeking a safer workplace environment and overall employee well-being. We understand the value of employee satisfaction and retention, which is why our safety and risk management professionals work diligently to provide customized solutions for your business’s needs.