May 13, 2013

Risk management

Risk management is assessing potential threats to health and safety and mitigating them. I did not know until today that all companies, even self employed companies must undertake risk assessment to ensure safety of their employees. More shockingly was the fact that as long as an organization has upto 5 employees, proper risk assessement must be done and properly recorded. As I have come to find out, a lot of money goes into lawsuits and insurance and compensations of risks that could have been avoided if proper risk assessement had been done.

I have come to appreciate the importance of risk assessement and what it means to an organization to carry it out. In as much as it may be expensive for an organization to start a healthy strategy on the assumption of the risks that may occur, in the longer term, this will save the company billions or millions or pounds in solving problems that have occured. It is our duty to think of al things that may go wrong. In a way its kinda like inspection of products before they get to the end user, one ensures they are of good high quality and safe for use. In the same way, an organization should be inspected to ensure it is safe for employees to work in without fear of their lives. This is indeed a very important issue to us all.

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  1. Andrew Sundell

    Hello Maureens blog,
    The following is the reality of health and safety. I am a self employed plumber and I oftern work in a £2000.00 per week care home near Tiverton. (not that the fees are relavant) Every April I am sent a Health and Safety questionaire to complete. The following are some of the questions together with my answers the same answers to the same questions year after year:-
    Do you keep records of accidents – yes bruises and scars.
    Do you monitor accidents – only until the bleeding stops.
    Do you do risk assessments – no, if I did I would not get out of my van. Reality! P.S. My boy is Ben Sundell.

    13 May 2013, 23:45

  2. Maureen Wandati

    hahahahha! Is that what you actually say every year…haha! I understand that the reality is waay different than what we read in book and journals. That notwithstanding, I have seen a couple of videos of terrible accidents that could have been avoided if a risk assessment had been done. After all, if you carry out risk assessment, you will be able to avoid cuts and bruises, and thus no bleeding will occur, and the risk of getting infectious diseases from your nature of work will be greatly reduced, right?

    But yeah, I understand where you are coming from…but like the old adage says, prevention is better than cure.

    14 May 2013, 08:27

  3. Andrew Sundell

    Yes absolutely true. If I wrote what the management wanted to read it would be a lie, a lie by omission, Sundell’s do not do that! Your writings are not debatable they are true and correct including those of Maintenance Management but I see it as just acedemic theory.
    Plumbing senario; I arrive at a house to replace a hot water cylinder but I can’t because of the confined space and unable to reach the fittings because when the cylinder was installed the bedroom wall’s had not been in place. Do I say to my customer “in order for me to have an injury free accesss I shall have to take down this bedroom wall ?” At the end of that working day I go home with bruises on the inside of my arms and deep grazing on the outside’s. Real life!

    14 May 2013, 12:45

  4. Maureen Wandati

    Wow! In that scenario…I totally get your point. Life is not as easy as books may paint it to be and if we have to make a living, there are some things we have to overlook or compromise to some extent. In your case, the bruises and occasional cuts are part of the package of your job description and they are worth it very much so at the end of the day after work. I think proper risk management and health and safety policies are carried out by big corporations that have a lot to lose if accidents happened. For other people, situations may force one to work in a risk area, but at least in your case, you are not exposed to say very dangerous and hazardous environments where your life is consantly on the thread because if it were, I bet you would tell your customer to make it a bit safer or you would simply not do it.
    And it is great that Sundell’s do not lie…that is a very good principle to live by. That is very honorable of you guys…God bless you.

    Your experinece has made me understand more about this topic more so in a real life situation. I guess the big question now is will you be fully accounatble and responsible should something bad happen? If your customer says to you that you did not inform them so its negligence on your part, what then?

    14 May 2013, 13:26

  5. Andrew Sundell

    Hello Maureen. The answer to your question, it’s down to me. Please do not consider me patronising for I feel compelled to comment on your brilliant writing, it’s always to the point, clear, without ambiguity but with a touch of humor. If you also have the same command in the medium of speech within a debate you must be formidable!
    I have a question, a preamble is required;
    I am now 63. When I was a young man it was shamfull to tell a lie and if found out nobody would ever trust that person again but today across all the strataum’s of society it appears to me that if the motive for the lie is strong enough i.e profit or even perhaps a psychological advantage or maybe just to up stage someone is enough motive to tell a lie and without conscience to be acceptable to the liar. I am not a cynical old man as a matter of fact I have never grown up but perhaps that’s a typical caracteristic of the male species.
    My question is – Why is the integrity of the human race depreciating?

    14 May 2013, 21:06

  6. Maureen Wandati

    Wow! Thank you for your very kind words….I am truly humbled. You are not at all patronizing, if anything, you have helped me grasp more clearly this topic of risk management from a more realistic point of view and for that, I am indeed very grateful.

    To your question, I am not sure I will do it justice fully. However, in my opinion, the depreciation of integrity by the human race is due to moral decadence and and rise in individualistic traits. People nowadays think of me, me, me. They want to gratify self and they will stop at nothing to do that. For most people, it does not matter how they get what they want, what matters is that they get it. The world itself has changed what is viewed as right and wrong and lies have been made to seem right. What we all forget is that one has to work very hard to maintain a lie, where the simple truth would have saved one a lot of headache.

    I guess also what parents teach their children plays a big role in this. If they are taught that lying is bad, but the parents themselves lie in some things here and there, the children will never find reason why not to lie. The root of all this I guess is what selfishness, fear of lose or the unknown, individualism etc. It is when we change our mindsets on what is really important, caring about other people and living selfless lives, that maybe, just maybe this world full of lies and all forms of evil will start being a better place to be.

    14 May 2013, 21:44

  7. Andrew Sundell

    I owe you an apology for taking your blog of on a tangent, please forgive me! Your reply to my question re lie’s was put so very well as I anticipated. For mor than the last ten years my son “the boy” as he is effectionetly known has expressed a desire to enter politics and I once asked him to make me a promise, never to even think the phrase “not in the interest of the public to know” which of course is deceit by ommission. More than four decades ago I borrowed a library book (I have had a few more since) it was written by an aristorcratic Edwardian English lady, it was a diary of her thoughts and feelings of the workings of the world and as a young man I found the last page to be so profound I photocopyed it and pasted it onto the inside back cover of my address book. I know it by heart and hear it is the last page:-

    How glad I am I need not hurry. What a waste of life, just getting and spending. Sitting by my pansy beds, with the slow clouds floating leisurely past, and all the clear day before me, I look at the hot scramble for the pennies of existence and am lost in wonder at the vulgarity the pushes and cringes, and tramples, untiring and unabashed. And when you have got your pennies, what then? They are only pennies, after all – unpleasant, battered copper things, without a gold piece among them, and never worth the degradation of self, and the hatred of those below you who have fewer, and the derision of those above you who have more. And as I percieve I am growing wise, and what is even worse, allegorical, and as these are tendencies to be fought against as long as possible, I’ll go into the garden and play with the babies, who at this moment are sitting in a row on the buttercups, singing what appear to be selections from popular airs.

    I can’t remember her name but I do know that she married a wealthy German Baron with many estates and as her marraige was just befor the First War (I have always found it contradictory to say the Great War) and I often wonder what became of her.

    19 May 2013, 19:53

  8. Simon

    Ah yes, the age old question. What is more important in life – the pennies or the pansies?

    20 May 2013, 08:24

  9. Maureen Wandati

    I would also want to know what happened to her Andrew, but a great piece that is. I trust she is saying there is more to life than money and riches and I couldn’t agree more. At the risk of sounding very naive, do not laugh but I do not really know what pansies are Simon. From what I have researched, they are flowers….and I do not believe you are asking what is more important between pennies and flowers…hahah! If that is what you are asking though, ermm, I do not know what ad say, maybe in this case, ad go for money over flowers. Are the two even comparable…hahah! I bet nobody would go for flowers over money…who would? I wouldn’t!

    20 May 2013, 22:08

  10. Andrew Sundell

    O.K how about a compromise:-

    Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the bough,
    A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse-
    and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness-
    And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

    If all that you have are Two Loves of Bread
    Sell One and with the Dole-
    Buy Flower’s to Feed the Soul.

    From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. cica 1200. (1859 edition)

    21 May 2013, 00:39

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