12 days of Christmas – Part 1

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December 17, 2021

For the 2021 version of the HKW Risk Management Christmas Blog post series, we’ve resurrected the 12 days of Christmas song (you’ll have to imagine the singing). We’ve managed to find 78 individual items related to health, safety, quality and environmental management so we hope you enjoy them and collect some top tips along the way!

On the 1st day of Christmas, my consultant gave to me 1 purpose:

Finding your purpose can be hard - it involves reflection, self awareness and time. In his book Do Purpose, David Hieatt suggests drawing 3 overlapping circles and labelling them:

  • I love
  • My Skill
  • The Zeitgeist

The intersection of these 3 is likely to be where your purpose is. What you love and are passionate about, what matters to you, what you are good at and what is going on around you - the zeitgeist is the spirit of the age, place and culture you are in, "a zeitgeist is a shift which will stay shifted".

If you are going to start an organisation (or work for one) aligning the purpose of the organisation with your own passions and values is likely to lead to better outcomes for everyone involved - as David Hieatt says "enjoy the ride, it's your ride"

On the 2nd day of Christmas my consultant gave to me 2 ways of writing an interesting audit report:

  1. Tell a story. An audit report makes much more sense if it tells a story of a process - for example starting with a customer order and following the journey of that order through the business and out of the door. Or to go the other way, start by looking in a skip and follow the waste stream backwards.
  2. Use pictures. There is a reason that a 'picture is worth a thousand words', using photos, screenshots, diagrams or sketches can all help to demonstrate what evidence you saw, make it easier for other people to understand what the problems or positives are and clarify how you came to your conclusions.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my consultant gave to me 3 things to put in a policy:

  1. The descriptive bit: HKW Risk Management Ltd is a B2B consultancy working with businesses in Bristol and the South West. We believe in making management systems simple and we offer straightforward risk management advice in an approachable and friendly way…
  2. The commitments bit: We are committed to protecting the environment and encouraging our clients to do so, the prevention of work-related injury and ill health, continually improving our management system and the services we offer our clients…
  3. The management bit e.g. we are committed to continual improvement, this policy is reviewed annually to ensure that it remains appropriate to our strategic direction and is suitable, adequate and effective…

On the 4th day of Christmas my consultant gave to me 4 words to consider when identifying context.

All the ISO standards require you to identify the internal and external issues facing your organisation, I use the SWOT method with all of my clients as it is straightforward but very effective – especially if you discuss the prompt words with a range of people across the organisations.

  1. Strengths (internal) - what are you proud of? What makes your organisation special? What are you good at?
  2. Weaknesses (internal) – what are you worried about? What customer complaints have you received? What doesn’t go so well?
  3. Opportunities (external) – what is going on around you? Are there any new innovations in materials, equipment, technology? Have your customer’s needs changed?
  4. Threats (external) – What is worrying you? What are your competitors doing? What legislation is due to change?

It is worth noting that some issues can be both opportunities and threats – that’s fine, write them down in both sections with a reason why.

On the 5th day of Christmas my consultant gave to me 5 steps to carry out a simple risk assessment:

  1. Look for the hazards i.e. something that could cause harm. This could be a piece of moving equipment that somebody could be crushed by, or it could be a chemical in an unlabelled pot.
  2. Who could be harmed by these hazards? It might be your employees, visitors, contractors, customers.
  3. Think about the level of risk, how likely is it that someone could be harmed and how serious could it be?
  4. Decide what control measures you need to reduce the risk and, most importantly, implement them in priority order – choose the ones which are easy and the ones which will reduce the risk the most
  5. Record and review your findings – particularly when things have changed

On the 6th day of Christmas my consultant gave to me the 6 words of the PDCA cycle:

  1. Context – look at the context you are in, what internal and external issues do you need to take account of when making plans? (see the 4th day!)
  2. Leadership – how clear is the leadership team on what needs to be achieved? What resources are available?
  3. Plan – what are your objectives? What do you want to achieve? Put a plan together
  4. Do – implement your plan!
  5. Check – monitor, measure and review – did your plan work? Did you achieve what you wanted to?
  6. Act – take further actions to improve performance

On the 7th day of Christmas my consultant gave to me 7 quality management principles:

  1. Customer focus – focus on customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations
  2. Leadership – establish your purpose, align your objectives to it and engage people to achieve them
  3. Engagement of people – engage people at all levels within your company to create and deliver value
  4. Process approach – manage and understand activities as interrelated processes to achieve consistent results
  5. Improvement – ongoing focus on improvement (big or small, it doesn’t matter!)
  6. Evidence based decision making – analysing and evaluating relevant data before making decisions
  7. Relationship management – managing relationships with interested parties

On the 8th day of Christmas my consultant gave to me 8 things to consider and / or do when setting objectives. After all, objectives should:

  1. Be SMART – i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound
  2. Be aligned with your purpose (see the 1st day!)
  3. Take into account any legal requirements / compliance obligations
  4. Consider risks, opportunities and environmental aspects
  5. Be communicated across your company – does everybody know what they are?
  6. Be understood – does everybody know how their actions can contribute to achieving the objectives?
  7. Be monitored and updated as required – i.e. record your progress towards meeting them, this can be monthly or quarterly – whatever time period suits you, but more regularly than once a year
  8. Be documented and written down in some accessible format

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