Risk Perspective and Reponse to Warnings and Alerts

I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation on severe weather preparedness. The two main take-away points from the presentation related to human response to severe weather alerts and risk perspectives. As humans we tend to have varying perspectives on risk and there often tends to be a cultural aspect where humans tend to be reactive, relying on warnings and alerts, rather than proactive and seeking out information related to storms and to take precautionary measures ahead of time.

This perspective occurs not only in our personal lives, but happens in industry as well. Not only can we benefit from warning and alert systems, but by taking a proactive approach to safety, whether related to natural events (such as severe storms) or industrial risk, we may be able to increase levels of protection. Part of this process includes making alerting and warning systems as well as operating procedures easy to use and follow. While these actions still allow for human decision-making they may help to provide decision boundaries to help us make sound, risk-informed decisions, thereby potentially increasing levels of safety and resilience. This is one area where safety leadership may help. Safety leadership in an organization may involve processes for communicating risks to employees so they can be informed and take part in the risk mitigation process. 

Have a great and safe weekend!