Communicating and Managing Risk: The Key Result of Risk Assessment
- Bruce K. Lyon (Hays Cos.) | Georgi Popov (University of Central Missouri)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- November 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 35 - 44
- 2017. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 1 in the last 30 days
- 74 since 2007
- Show more detail
- By itself, risk assessment does not achieve its objectives. Risk communication is required to reduce uncertainty and manage operational risks. Assessing risks within an organization enables decision makers to properly manage risks and make plausible decisions.
- Safety professionals must be able to effectively communicate the risk to top decision makers. This requires understanding the nature of the decision to be made, and the specific information needed to help make an informed decision.
- OSH professionals should select and design risk assessment methods to identify, assess and communicate not only operational risks and their controls, but also the resulting business consequences and downstream effects.
- A sequence of modified and cascading risk assessment methods can effectively communicate risk to decision makers by presenting the linkage between operational risk, OSH risk and business risk.
Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Within an organization, it can be debilitating when it comes to making decisions and pursuing objectives. The challenge for OSH professionals is not only to adequately identify, and assess operational risks of a targeted uncertainty, but to effectively communicate its potential risk to decision makers. As stated in ANSI/ASSE Z690.2-2011, Risk Management Principles and Guidelines, “Organizations of all types and sizes face internal and external factors and influences that make it uncertain whether and when they will achieve their objectives. The effect this uncertainty has on the organization’s objectives is ‘risk’” (ANSI/ASSE, 2011). The standard further describes risk as “the effect of uncertainty on objectives.”
Successful business leaders realize that to conduct operations and achieve objectives, management must understand and manage the risks associated with the operation. OSH risk professionals who can facilitate risk assessments and effectively communicate risks to management, in essence, reducing uncertainty, will increase their value to the organization.
The Objectives of Risk Assessment
ANSI/ASSE Z690.2 defines risk assessment as the “overall process of risk identification, risk analysis and risk evaluation” (ANSI/ASSE, 2011, p. 12). As shown in Figure 1 (p. 36), risk assessment is at the heart of the risk management process.
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