Time To Revisit Your Risks And Opportunities?
Corona used to be drunk chilled with lime ...
POSTED BY ELLEN WILLOUGHBY ON 25/06/2020 @ 8:00AM
This week, we have another great blog post from my colleague Tony Foster talking about Risks and Opportunities in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic and how these risks can be seen as an opportunity for all. Over to you Tony ...
When we next review our risks and opportunities registers we should get our business insurance policies out for inspiration!
copyright: melpomen / 123rf
The three management standards that I work with, these being ISO 9001:2015 (quality), ISO 14001:2015 (environmental) and ISO 45001:2018 (occupational health and safety, or OH&S), all now sit on the same 'platform'.
"This makes it easy for integrated auditing, where this is feasible!"
Some organisations take an integrated approach to their management system and if they are certified to all three standards, or even two out of three, their processes and documentation overlap. Others treat each management system separately and have documentation covering each one.
All three standards are risk-based and require organisations to review risks and opportunities relevant to their operation. These risks and opportunities can, of course, be quite separate, for example, for quality, there might be mitigating risk from a product defect. For environmental there might be mitigating risks of spillage, and for OH&S there might be a mitigating risk of injury to workers (ISO 45001:2018 defines a worker as anybody working in the organisation).
So organisations may have one or more registers of risks and opportunities. But whatever the case, when most of us last reviewed our risks and opportunities, Corona was still something you drank chilled with a slice of lime.
In my experience, Coronavirus, more specifically COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemic, don't figure on too many of these risks and opportunities registers. The epidemic didn't even make it to business continuity plans (see my previous blog post, The roadmap to a COVID-19 secure workplace). In general terms, it is now clear that we need to consider planning for pandemics as a new risk.
"And a pandemic is a risk that transcends all
three areas of management!"
In terms of OH&S, the risk is clear. Our action is to risk assess the workplace and to the best of our ability to make it safe against the threat. In terms of quality, we need to have thought about how we might keep the business running and maintain the integrity of our processes in the face of adversity, hence our business continuity plan. And in terms of the environment, we need to assess for any potential adverse environmental impact, such as, is the waste still going to get collected?
But what of the opportunities? Few businesses will come out of lockdown stronger than when they entered it, and most will have taken a big hit on turnover and profitability, which looks set to continue for a time to come!
But what lockdown has done in many areas across the economy is bring forward trends that were already happening. The obvious one that affects businesses is home working, which I consider an environmental plus, and although increasing working from home is unlikely to have figured in anyone's objectives, it could now as we consider permanent changes to the way that we work.
Then there is video conferencing. Are companies still going to ask all the reps to drive 200 miles to the office for the next sales meeting, now they've had to do it remotely? Probably not. More fuel saved there.
There will be many areas of working that we have had to change as a result of the pandemic. We just have to go looking for them and where these are seen as improvements, be it quality, environmental or occupational Health & Safety management ... we should view them all as opportunities and make sure we capture them as objectives for change, a continual improvement even.
"The last reason to revisit risks and opportunities now is
external continuing assessment!"
Notified bodies, themselves having had to rapidly re-invent themselves for remote auditing, will be looking to see that businesses have addressed COVID-19 and are operating safely. Even if the business is only registered to ISO 9001:2015, this will be looked at since it is a legal requirement. They will also be looking to see that risks and opportunities have been reviewed and that a pandemic, as a new risk - and a new opportunity - has been adequately addressed.
I am sure that these same notified bodies will be grasping the opportunity for more remote auditing of clients, and including it in their own business opportunities, citing benefit to the environment and staff welfare.
Finally, perhaps when we next review our risks and opportunities registers, we should get our business insurance policies out for inspiration? Insurance companies know a thing or two about risk. As some restauranteurs have found to their cost, 'disease and epidemic' was listed as a policy exclusion.
Until next time ...
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A huge thank you to my colleague Tony Foster for this week's blog post!
Like to find out more about reassessing your risks and opportunities in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic? Do give me a call on 01858 414226, leave a comment below or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help.
About Ellen Willoughby ...
I'm Ellen, Director of All About Quality and All About Productivity. I have over 20 years experience as professional in the quality world and 17 years as a practising Buddhist. As a result of this, I have a passion for improvement. in both business and personal life.
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