Could be a good career move.

Webster defines risk as the chance of harm or loss, or being put in danger. That definition focuses on the possibility of a negative consequence. But many organizations are beginning to recognize risk as both threats and opportunities, according to experts speaking at ASSE's recent risk management seminar.

Safety professionals must consider both negative and positive consequences of risk — the threats and opportunities. It is not enough just to be able to quantify what negative result or threat that might occur with each risk. Real value also comes when the safety professional can quantify what opportunity or positive result should occur by taking a particular action for safety.

A risk management process must include a process for identifying risk and taking appropriate mitigation action. You must know:

  • What could happen? (What are the risks) — negative or positive;
  • How likely is it to happen?;
  • What is the expected consequence?;
  • Can the likelihood be changed?;
  • Can the expected consequence be changed?; and,
  • What are the strategies to deal with the risks?

Once risks are identified in the system, connect them to how they might affect the human performance that is necessary to create operational excellence. Also identify the management processes that influence maintaining balance in the overall system.

Then, develop strategies to address risks, prioritize the elimination or control of the identified risks, and ensure results are continuously assessed to determine effectiveness, making corrections where necessary, experts like Steve Owens of Maxim Performance Systems, Inc., note.