Controls to Reduce Risk & Pitfalls to Avoid

Introduction

There are numerous controls to avoid and reduce the risks to your project or organization. Though the risk is not always avoidable, there are ways to alter it. Below are proven controls used to alter risk.

Controls

- Engineering Controls: these are controls that reduce risk using engineering methods. This can include:

1. How one designs a project

2. The material used in a project

3. How one substitutes materials to meet technical and economic needs

- Administrative Controls: there are a variety of controls that reduce risk through administrative actions:

1. Creating signs, placards, posters, and visible warnings

2. Creating programs, standard operating procedures (SOPs), instructional material, and having policies in place

3. Conducting training and practicing plans before they are used

4. Limiting how exposed personnel are to hazards by reducing their time in an area and where they are working by policy and proper training. 

- Physical Controls: these controls act as barriers to protect personnel. These can include:

1. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

2. Fences

3. Personnel/Supervisors that oversee safety

Pitfalls to Avoid

In addition to knowing some of the common controls used in risk management, it is important to know the mistakes (pitfalls) you should avoid. Below is a list of common pitfalls seen in risk management:

- Over Optimism: overlooking root causes and not being honest with risks associated with your project/company.

- Misrepresentation: relying on one or very few perspectives (*this skews your data!)

- Alarmism: “worst case” events are included in assessments regardless of their likelihood (*they should be considered, but not given the highest priority!)

- Indiscrimination: All risks are given the same value or priority (*not all risks are the same priority!)

- Prejudice: subjective opinions are used rather than facts in assessing risk.

- Inaccuracy: using poor information or data to assess your risks.

Conclusion

The controls mentioned above are only some of the ways to alter risk, and we encourage you to use these controls in addition to your own. On top of this, your organization or project may experience pitfalls not mentioned above. There is no simple “one-size-fits-all” approach to risk management. However, controls like these can inspire you or your organization. We hope that after reading this, you learned a new way to approach risk management for your next project.

Source Used

Greenert, J. (2010). “OPNAV INSTRUCTION 3500.39C.” Department of the

Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, p. 1 - 41.

About the Author

Ethan Rego

ER@rocconsult.eu

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