We all know that risk management is about identifying, assessing and prioritising risks and hazards in the workplace in order to come up with a process and strategy that ensures these problems either don’t happen or, if they do, that they can be handled and managed effectively in a way that will ensure lessons are learned. But what is composite risk management and how should it be reflected?
Often known by its abbreviation of CRM, it is essentially the primary decision-making process used by the military forces when looking to identify hazards and control risks throughout all kinds of missions, training, operations, activities and functions. It enables better decisions to be made and ensures systems are put in place to either eliminate these potential hazards or reduce the risk that they carry. It also means potentially harmful situations are supervised and managed more effectively.
Why it is so important?
Given the threats faced by the army on a regular basis, composite risk management is absolutely crucial to the safety and welfare of employees – particularly to the soldiers that are fighting and working on the front-line. Surprisingly, the first official risk management document didn’t get introduced into the army until April 1998 by Field Manual (FM) 100-14; and this has been updated and revised ever since until it became known as ‘composite risk management’. It has been expanded to ensure there are clear standards and guidelines in place and broadened to ensure it encompasses the many aspects of the military, both on and off duty.
Composite risk management should be reflected in all day-to-day operations and activities, but also addressed in every safety briefing too. It is important that all members of staff and military are aware of protocol and know how to react responsively and appropriately to a hazard or risk to ensure it either doesn’t become a problem or to prevent it from escalating further.
Ultimately, CRM needs to be integrated within every mission and operation covering all aspects while making plans, preparing, executing and recovering. It needs to ensure any decisions carrying risk are made from the appropriate level of command with a clear hierarchy in place. It also needs to take into account that no unnecessary risk should be taken unless the potential gains or benefits significantly outweigh the possible loss.
Creating a composite risk management process
When it comes to drafting up a composite risk management process, there are a few key stages to go through:
- Consider all possible hazards – taking into account staff welfare, architecture, equipment, threats to life, combat situations, etc
- Assess each of these points to establish what risk they carry
- Establish guidelines and strategies for dealing with each risk and to aid in decision-making processes
- Implement a set of rules to counter any problems arising from the risks or to ensure if they do happen, the effect is reduced and controlled.
- Ensure there is a hierarchy in place for those with authority to make risk-taking decisions.
- Put the CRM into practice and monitor how effective it is. If problems occur with it, address and revise accordingly. Learn from lessons and ensure staff are able to communicate to you where they see issues happening for successful incident reporting.