Risk is an important part of life. We each have to manage it, often times encourage it, and in some cases, we even try to eliminate it. Typically, we think of positive risk related to growing our retirement accounts, investing in a new home, or maybe taking a leap and buying an investment property or starting a business. These are considered fairly normal risks to take, but as with all risk, they have the power to produce a scenario where there can be an uncontrolled loss of something valuable – usually your time and money. When we stop taking risks because of uncertainty, we stop moving forward and are likely to become idle.
Many successful people say that the luckiest of us are those who are prepared to take the greatest risks. They say that we create our luck by taking the necessary steps to open the door which makes change, progression, and success all possible.
Encouraging someone to take a risk is something that all parents, mentors, and leaders are familiar with. When we encourage risk is it is usually because we care about the person and want them to grow and learn, and ultimately become successful. These are typically calculated situations that, for the most part, have limited down-side and will likely provide a good shot for a favorable outcome. We know that with enough time and effort a young child will catch on to the concept of riding a bike and that it will benefit their life to know how to ride one. The risks can include scraped knees and elbows, and maybe some hurt feelings and a few tears, but those are all things we can live with.
Another way to look at risk is how it’s handled at Metalwest. Most of us take on only the amount of risk that we can financially or personally handle, knowing that we can start over or try again if things don’t go according to plan. Things are a little different in a setting like ours where we handle material with enormous amounts of weight, operate powerful equipment, and drive delivery vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. In this environment, if an uncalculated risk is taken and things don’t go according to plan, it is entirely possible that what’s lost is much more than a little bit of time and some money.
Proactively Managing Risk
At Metalwest we try to increase everyone’s awareness by openly sharing information and by utilizing training programs that help teach us how to understand and manage our unintentional and risky behavior. Allowing ourselves to become so fatigued that we are mentally and physically exhausted is a risk because it will eventually lead to inattention.
The same goes for rushing and allowing yourself to become frustrated. Each of these can cause us to make mistakes that end up increasing the likelihood of becoming injured, and they are almost guaranteed to contribute to a significant loss in productivity.
Training is a very important part of managing risk and folks in our company have been working hard to improve the processes related to it. We don’t want to just add content or find additional training, we want to keep training simple and make it as effective as possible. A well-trained person is much less likely to make poor decisions and therefore is better prepared to manage risk.
We have all heard that our business is not about metal, it’s about people, and that’s all of us! Properly managing risk helps guarantee that we all go home at the end of the day and ensures the success of our business.
By Dave Suchey - Health, Safety, and Environment Manager at Metalwest