There is a big difference between proactively mitigating risks vs. reacting to incidents. Why do corporations wait to take active safety measures till an incident occurs? Because being proactive is hard…very hard and requires a lot of discipline.
Let me share a personal experience.
After my health check up a few years ago, the doctor told me that my cholesterol levels were significantly higher than normal. I was pretty shocked to learn that if my cholesterol levels do not come down in the next few months I will have go on medicine. This was even more shocking because I was 26! After that I cut down on red meat and also started exercising regularly.
An organization’s approach to risk is no different than mine. The behavior towards safety changes in light of an event that can VISIBLY lead to damaging consequences.
In my case the event was high cholesterol levels and consequences were future health problems. In the case of organizations the behavior-changing events are incidents. One does not have to look beyond Bhopal to see how a major accident has impacted our approach to process safety. Hopefully, organizations have started learning from near-misses and not wait for catastrophes.
So, are you going to be proactive about your organization’s safety? Or are you going to wait till your health checkup alarms you?