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The biggest hazard at workplaces will always be our people. Most danger manifests from their interaction with other people, process, plant and the environment.

So, we respond by dogmatically promoting risk-averse behaviour to mitigate or even eliminate risk where possible and especially inappropriate behaviour within the workplace culture.

We then get upset and indignant when workers stray or drift from procedural expectations – which so often happens…

Problem is, this philosophy of risk elimination runs contrary to the risk-taking predisposition of a not insignificant percentage of our workforce.

Whilst we promote and encourage safe behaviours at the workplace, these very same people are adopting the diametrically opposed approach when they sign out in the afternoon.

In the interests of feeling alive and living life to the full – outside of work, many people rush towards risk. Driving fast, trading the Forex market, bungee jumping, skydiving, playing football, drinking more than we should, taking up MMA or asking out that supermodel is normal, socially acknowledged and rewarded behaviour.

And it starts young:

In fact, risk-taking can lead to astonishing success or failure and is an important aspect of the human condition that we have to somehow embrace.

Is it biological, societal, cultural, gender-based? No doubt an infusion of them all creating a dastardly cocktail of challenges for the risk and compliance manager and leaders at all levels to acknowledge and deal with.

It is beyond foreseeable that some people will struggle to internalise “SWP-004-1A” at page 473 of your Manual when they intentionally put themselves at far greater risk on Saturday and Sunday.

Whilst this is obviously a huge topic, one thing I have read is that:

“a person’s tendency to take risks correlates with how much he or she expects to benefit from the outcome.”

An interesting factor to ponder when reflecting on pockets of non-compliance with your own systems?

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