Hi there,

Last week we talked about risk, what it is, how to identify it. This week we’re going to look at the general principles of how to mitigate against the risks that we’ve identified.

Remember that we’re not just talking about health and Safety risks. Although Health and Safety is a major consideration for any facilities manager, there are plenty of other business risks that we need to identify and mitigate against.

Four ways to mitigate against risk

If a risk has been identified within a business and the level of risk has been established, you can begin to consider methods to mitigate against it. This might take one of four forms:

Accept the risk and do nothing

In some cases, it might be seen as the best option to accept the risk and do nothing. This is often the case if the risk is felt to be unlikely to happen, and even if it did, the severity is minimal. Remember the risk formula:

Risk = Probability x Consequences

For example: With the advent of satellites in space, there is the possibility that a piece of space junk could land on the head of the King during a royal visit to your premises.

However, the likelihood of this occurrence is so low, and the prevention costs so high, that this risk will not receive much attention and will probably be ignored.

A flippant example, perhaps, but it makes the point – if the costs of prevention significantly outweigh the likelihood and consequences, it makes more sense to accept the risk and focus on other areas.

Remove the risk altogether 

In other cases it might be possible to remove the risk altogether. A piece of electrical equipment might present a high risk of electrocution, perhaps because it is faulty. By destroying the equipment, you have removed the risk.

Reduce the risk

Many risks cannot be removed completely but can be reduced. A classic example might be the risk of slipping on wet floors.

By providing cleaners with microfiber mops which absorb a large percentage of water and using signage to inform people of wet floors, the risk can be considerably reduced.

You would never be able to remove this risk unless you stopped washing the floor, an action which is not realistic, so you look to reduce it.

Outsource the risk

Finally, you could outsource the risk, i.e. transfer it to a third party who is more able to cope with it. An example would be fire risk assessments.

All organisations have a legal requirement to undertake fire risk assessments of their premises but most FMs would not have the knowledge to undertake these assessments accurately. Hence there would be a risk to the organisation that the buildings did not meet statutory requirements for fire safety.

If there was a fire, a subsequent investigation could show that areas of the building did not meet the requirements. The consequences of failing to meet these requirements could be severe, so by outsourcing the fire risk assessments to a specialist, the organisation can mitigate this issue and feel confident that the building meets the requirements.

That’s all for this week!

A fairly short one this week, but no less important for it. Hopefully now you’ve got a basic understanding of risk and the thought processes you need to be following in order to reduce the impact of any risks on your business.
Have a great week!

Chris and the Xenon Team

P.S. If you haven’t already studied or started studying for an IWFM qualification, which will cover topics like this in depth and fully assess your understanding, you may want to have a look at our guide to the IWFM Qualifications which will give you a full breakdown of how they work and what’s involved in the different levels. You can download it here.

P.P.S. If you’re already considering taking a qualification but don’t know which level to go for, a good starting point is our One-Minute-Leveller tool, which will ask you a few questions and give you a recommendation based on the result. You can access it here.