The Precautionary Principle

How to understand risk versus the perception of risk.

Understanding risk management is a fundamental skill for any HR practitioner wishing to explore a career in Health and Safety (H&S). As the Human Resources function continues to increase its role in relation to Health and Safety, risk management is quickly becoming a core competency for any HR practitioner. By understanding risk we can actively implement controls to reduce, or better yet, eliminate safety risks for all employees in the workplace.

The following video clip which explains understanding hazard recognition, risk assessment and controls.

Source: GreenFacts.org. The above content constitutes a link to the source website. Please click on the play icon to stream the video.

This video clip does a great job at summarizing the overall concept of risk management and risk assessment as it touches on terms such as:

  • Hazard
  • Risk
  • Safety
  • The Precautionary principle

If a company’s goal is to truly improve workplace safety and eliminate injuries and illnesses, it must have an effective risk management assessment system in order to drive its safety efforts. Risk assessment is a very simple concept that does not seem to get a lot of traction in the workplace. It is a powerful preventative tool that could and should be used effectively.

By developing a comprehensive risk assessment system and then implementing controls to reduce the work with the greatest risks, any organization will be able to achieve the overarching goal of reducing workplace injuries and illnesses.

Discussion Questions:

  1. As a new HR practitioner, how has this video provided you with a better understanding of: hazard recognition, assessment and control?
  2. Your company wants you to research and recommend a form to be used as a hazard assessment tool. Research different types of hazard assessment forms that are available. Select one that you think is most effective and explain why you selected it.
  3. Explain the difference between hazard assessment and risk assessment.

Needs Analysis: Keep it Simple

Very often, organizations get caught up in over complicating and over analyzing what employees need or want.  As with most things, the more complicated a process is, the more opportunity for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and missing the mark.

Source: Ivelin Radkov/Shutterstock
Source: Ivelin Radkov/Shutterstock

This is definitely the case with needs analysis related to employee learning.  We hear how important it is to drill down into the core of an organizational psyche so that we can prepare and respond to multiple employee challenges through various analytical methodologies.  It does not have to be so complex.

Click here to read the article.

In this article, there are three simple questions to ask employees about their work life, including the very powerful but simple question, ‘What do you want to learn this year?’ . Simple questions can provide an abundance of responses.  The answers to simple questions will give us a wealth of material that we, as HR Professionals, can work with in order to provide appropriate learning tools to fit what employees tell us they need.

Asking questions should be the easiest part to creating understanding about what employees need.  Making sure we respond to what employees tell us they need is where the real challenge lies.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you respond to each of the three questions from this article in your current (or past) work environment?
  2. What types of responses from these three questions would indicate employee satisfaction?
  3. What types of responses from these three questions would indicate employee dissatisfaction?
  4. What tools would you use in the workplace to ask employees these three questions?
  5. What is the biggest risk to an employer when employees answer these three simple questions?