How to practice risk management

How to practice risk management

Constructing barriers to protect your organization from a potential loss, such as a fire or a sexual harassment lawsuit, is critical in protecting and maintaining the longevity of your ministries. Having the right insurance coverage in place is also very important to help rebuild after a fire, or to cover legal fees and costs associated with a lawsuit. However, insurance does not prevent the loss from occurring.

How to prevent a loss

The key to preventing a loss is to erect as many risk management barriers between a potential loss and each of your ministries. When a loss occurs, it can be very stressful and devastating to everyone involved.

  • How often are your employees trained to identify potential risk?
  • Are your new employees provided with risk management training during the first few days on the job?
  • Have your managers been trained to utilize or develop risk management barriers to prevent an employee from being injured or to prevent a sexual harassment lawsuit?

Risk management barriers can take many forms. An example of a temporary barrier is applying salt on an icy parking lot to prevent a slip-type accident, or wearing eye protection when cutting down a tree to prevent an eye injury.

There are also procedural barriers to prevent losses, such as requiring an employee to follow a procedure to turn off a circuit’s power and lock out a breaker in the electrical box before performing maintenance on an inoperable light fixture. This procedure can help prevent an electrical shocktype injury.

There is also the use of fixed barriers, which is the installation of permanent wiring to heat water lines near an outside wall to prevent pipes from freezing in the wintertime.

The human element

There are an infinite amount of hazards, and there are an infinite amount of barriers; however, there is one element that is a part of each and every barrier – the human element. Without the human element, there will be holes within your risk management program that could lead to a serious loss. To cultivate this human element, staff, supervisors, managers, directors, administrators, and even company presidents need to be trained on what to do and what not to do.

The easiest way to determine what type of training your organization needs is to obtain a loss history from your insurance company to see where your actual losses are occurring. This will tell you where your initial training should focus and who should be trained.

After identifying where past losses have occurred, and where future losses are most likely to occur, a training program can be developed and scheduled. We recommend risk management training take place during the first week of employment, following an accident or loss, when policy/procedure changes occur, when an employee is promoted to a supervisory position, as well as ongoing at regular intervals, especially for employees with supervisory responsibility.

Training options

Your insurance company should be able to provide you with a variety of risk management training options. The cost of options can range from free to fee and usually depend on whether you need only training materials/resources, or a risk management consultant to assist in developing customized training programs.

Another option is the Internet. Using search engines like Google or Bing will allow you to find resources immediately. For employee safety, try visiting, there are a lot of free resources, sample policies, and even training material you can download. Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – the training or resources you need may have already been developed, you’ll just need to fine tune the material or the training program you are going to present. This fine tuning will help employees better understand the information presented and how it relates to your specific organization.

With web-based training, employees can be trained anytime of the day and anywhere in the world as long as they have access to a computer with Internet service. This is extremely useful for organizations that have ministries spread across the country, with 24/7 operations, or have concerns about consistency in their training.

For more information on risk management training or web-based training, please contact Jeff Harrison at 800.807.0300 x2543.

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