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Risk management is an integral part of Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) management for enterprises – especially if the goal is to build a safety culture with a proactive mindset. In one of our recent blogs titled ‘An “All-In” Approach to Safety & Quality’ – we wrote about the importance of an organizational mindset wherein the approach is towards reducing risks rather than just treating safety management as something to tick off!

In fact, standards and regulations such as ISO and OSHA recommend a risk-based approach to safety, to minimize events and increase worker well-being. Therefore, though compliance and risk management may seem like two different aspects of safety management, they are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. Standards and regulations require safety leaders and management to proactively identify safety risks, prioritize them based on severity and frequency, implement controls and measures, and increase worker engagement in improving workplace safety.

integrating-risk-and-change-management

Briefly, it can be said that risk management itself is a regulatory requirement. By implementing risk management, the business’s compliance increases, and vice versa.

Streamline Processes for your Safety, Regulatory Affairs, and Risk Management Teams

Over the last few years, globalization and better access to information have enabled companies to truly become global and enter new markets/geographies. While the pandemic acted as a deterrent for, maybe, a couple of years, businesses are back to strategizing and launching in newer locations.

From a regulatory perspective, this adds complexity. Each region has its own set of regulations and standards for safety management and businesses with a presence in those markets must comply with these additional requirements. Keeping track of these regulations, ensuring compliance, and keeping pace with changes can be very difficult for safety and management teams. They need to be able to track the regulatory environment in addition to the market changes and be agile in responding to them.

Though most regulations are trying to harmonize with global compliance requirements, for the business, the process of change is still complicated. It requires individual monitoring of the units in those geographies and making the relevant changes.

These changes also bring with them changes to processes, technologies, raw materials, documentation needs, training of employees to prepare them for the changes, changes in marketing guidelines, etc. Some of these changes need prior preparation and a learning curve during which, safety management may become a secondary priority. And, if this happens, it becomes a major risk.

Overall, it is good practice for safety leaders to integrate compliance strategies with risk management. They need to be able to identify areas of change, identify risks on an ongoing basis, spot gaps in the safety workflow, and keep track of the execution of risk mitigation actions that are planned.

Compliance and risk management need to be parallel activities for a smooth transition.

This is applicable not just during changes to regulatory environments but all kinds of changes. A business is constantly evolving and growing. Every change to any aspect of the business process brings with it a risk to safety and the risk of non-compliance. Therefore, risk management is an essential part of safety and compliance management.

Management of Change (MoC) – A Key Part of Unifying Risk Management and Compliance

EHS risk comes in many forms and can be broadly classified as:

  • Compliance Risk: Noncompliance to safety regulations is a risk to the business itself due to the drain in resources caused by penalties, legal fees, absenteeism of the injured/ill employees, cost of finding and retraining a temporary or permanent replacement of an employee.
  • Safety Risk: A hazard can cause an injury or even death. This affects productivity due to the stoppage of work, lowers employee morale, and can lead to high workforce churn.
  • Environmental Risk: Damage to the environment or the ecosystem around the business’s units due to emissions, waste dispersion, and resource exploitation.
  • Climate Risk: The link between industrial activity and climatic changes is well-known. Each business has a responsibility to minimize the impact on climate through responsible management of processes and resources.
  • Risk Due to Changes: Any change will have a domino effect and can create a risk of injury or illness downstream. Therefore, this needs to be understood and mitigated.

Good risk management can eliminate or minimize the damage by increasing risk visibility and revealing hidden risks. Where a risk cannot be avoided, it can help reduce the impact through appropriate control measures. By proactively identifying and mitigating risks, businesses can eliminate the threat and ensure survival and growth.

Automating Risk and Compliance Management with ComplianceQuest

Both risk and compliance management require interconnected processes. They require visibility and traceability, a holistic view of data, and the ability to make decisions based on facts. Documentation and reports are other key aspects of both these aspects of safety management.

Businesses with manual processes or legacy systems may find their existing processes very limiting. The cloud-based safety management system from ComplianceQuest provides a centralized view of processes and the inherent risks. It empowers employees with data needed to identify risks and also enables their inputs to be integrated into the decision-making process for better results. A central registry of risks helps identify trends, prioritize risks based on frequency and severity, and mitigate high-risk areas first to improve workplace safety.

It also enables document management, which improves the outcomes of audits and inspections by making businesses ready and more compliant. It facilitates continuous improvement, thereby improving the company’s risk profile and enhancing stakeholder confidence. This can improve brand reputation and strengthen competitive advantage while making the business more compliant.

To find out how you can manage your safety risks better and become more compliant by integrating the two functions, contact us now: https://www.compliancequest.com/contact-us/

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