Risk assessments are absolutely integral to implementing safety at the workplace. Simply put, risk assessments are when you analyze your next series of steps in order to evaluate the safest course of action to address the task at hand.

So, how can you develop a suite of risk assessment and mitigation procedures and implement them at your workplace?

In this episode, Darrin Anderson, Environmental Health, Safety, and Security Manager at Nesher Pharmaceuticals (USA) LLC, shares his advice for building highly effective risk identification assessments and procedures.

We’ll discuss:

  • Risk identification assessments and procedures
  • The power of safety SMEs
  • The danger of safety being an afterthought
  • How technology and ergonomics have changed safety

Let’s dive right in!

“Even in a high-risk environment, there are mitigations that can be applied under fire.”

— Darrin Anderson

Creating Procedures

Darrin has an impressive military background, including extensive EMT, search and rescue, and law enforcement training. He developed techniques and SOPs that were utilized by NATO.

He really knows his stuff.

In every undertaking, there are going to be risks. Careful, step-by-step assessment and mitigation is key. You also have to have sharp people in the field with the authority to recognize an unexpected snafu and take charge, who can direct the appropriate response.

Darrin’s current work with Nesher has saved the company an estimated $12 million a year. His meticulousness and highly trained eye for detail has created safety procedures that have let countless workers get home safely.

“I think when you’re working with folks for safety, you ask a lot of questions. You don’t just throw the answers out there, and you certainly aren’t going to get anywhere with death by PowerPoint.”

— Darrin Anderson

The Value of an SME

In the health and safety industry, an SME is someone who’s been carefully trained to become a subject matter expert.

It’s not just getting up in front of people, pedantically saying, “do this, do that.”

Safety procedures are a vital component to nearly any business, and it needs to be a hefty conversation. People need to be involved in their own safety and that of their coworkers.

SMEs can provide immense assistance in creating a dialogue and building an interactive experience that creates a peer-to-peer support network where everyone realizes their true value to the company.

“By talking and working with folks, you get some phenomenal ideas out of individuals that may not be in a traditional safety role.”

— Darrin Anderson

Don’t Let Safety Be an Afterthought

Darren is a lifelong learner. He also has an innate gift for leading people so well in training classes that they’re inspired to do more and look for ways to streamline and smooth the process.

People spend more time at work than they do at home. So a supportive environment is necessary to employee well being.

Sometimes people want to take shortcuts. “It’ll take too long, I’ve done this a million times, I’ll go back and do it later.”

But nobody expects to end up in the ER because they didn’t consider a possible risk. Safety is a conversation that needs to happen everyday.

Risk assessment just has to become a habit, something that we develop.”

— Darrin Anderson

Technology & Ergonomics in Risk Management

New technology — like tablets and digital work orders — helps those in the field keep safety procedures at the forefront.

Risk assessment and mitigation are always the same, no matter if a task has been completed thousands of times. Skipping steps and sloppy compliance can cause tragedies in the blink of an eye.

Industrial health practices should be integrated into any new hire training. This also includes the latest research in ergonomics.

Workers who perform repetitive movements are a major risk for workplace injuries.

In the construction industry, especially, there are many additional hazards like weather and traffic that can endanger employees. It’s crucial to adjust and factor in these key variables to keep your people safe and happy.

The historical danger of working in a factory setting led to the formation of unions, OSHA, and radical advances in risk assessment, safety, and environmental health. Getting workers directly involved in establishing these protocols leads to higher employee engagement.

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