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November 03, 2006

Experientially Speaking--Risk Analysis

By Eddy Parham

I just finished facilitating a course for a government organization on required OSHA training.  Go figure, a private contractor teaching the government their own regulation--I'm sure there's a blog post in there somewhere but not for this month.  Risk management is the post for this month.

The reason this came to mind is that early on in the OSHA-required course, a participant had several objections to the way I was running the simulations.  He didn’t feel they were safe.  Now, the true cause of his discontent, as I suspected and several other participants pointed out, was the fact that he didn’t want to be in the course but because it was required training, he didn’t have any choice.  Nevertheless I began wondering how many other participants that have gone through this class had similar objections run through their mind but never said anything. 

I guess I’ve always taken for granted that participants know that I’m not going to do anything to jeopardize their safety. Or would I? I don’t think I would, I mean injuring your participants doesn’t do much for client retention. Yet I decided to go back and review my safety processes. Thankfully after running through a five-step risk management process, I found no safety issues with the program, though I have made an extra effort to explain to participants the safety measures that are built into the program.

So, how often do we perform a risk analysis on our programs? Now you may be saying to yourself, I don’t facilitate any high speed low drag courses – all my facilitation is done in a comfortable conference room. Don’t underestimate the importance of conducting a risk analysis. Ever been in a conference room where the LCD had to be set up in the middle of the room and all of the outlets were on the wall? How did you get electricity to the projector? You ran an extension chord, but was it taped down in such a way as to prevent a tripping hazard? How about mid morning refreshments and those Sterno chaffing dishes? See any hazards there?

Chances are you are already performing some form of risk analysis but remember, the more complex the training the more thorough the analysis. And, it doesn’t hurt to let the participant’s know the risk analysis process that you’ve put the training course through.

Eddy Parham was a learning consultant with a Fortune 500 Company in the Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate sector until the recent downturn in the real estate market. He’s now doing some freelance work and looking for full time employment in the field that he truly loves—training. You can contact Eddy at eddy.parham@verizon.net.


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