| October 21, 2012

There are a number of websites and political candidates touting the benefits of the Ready-Fire-Aim approach.  Decisiveness is characterized as a virtue; hesitation as a sign of weakness.

Decisive action is good – sometimes.

Sometimes it is fatal.

The classic example of this is when a co-worker rushes into a confined space to save a buddy – and they both end up dead.

Most of the pundits favoring the Ready-Fire-Aim approach are focused on overcoming the negative impacts of inertia within an organization.  They are seeking to address those situations within organizations where endless studies are conducted but action is never taken. 

The want action and they want action NOW.

Inertia is a problem within many organizations that does need to be addressed.  But simply focusing on taking action more quickly – speeding up the response – is not always the answer.

Prior to making changes, it is important consider the downside risks of the action being proposed.

As section of OHSAS 18001 states –

Where the corrective and preventive action identifies new or changed hazards or the need for new or changed controls, the procedure shall require that the proposed actions shall be taken through a risk assessment prior to implementation (emphasis added).

What are the characteristics of events where decisive action is appropriate?

Situations where you –

– know the facts,
– can and have assessed the risks, and
– are prepared to address the possible negative outcomes.

If that is not true of your situation – beware.

Or as Sun Tzu put it in the Art of War

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

© ENLAR Compliance Services, Inc. (2012)


Category: OHSMS Implementation

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