If a risk has been identified within a business and the level of risk has been established, the Facilities Manager can begin to consider methods to mitigate against it.
There are a number of ways that this can be achieved, but generally speaking risk mitigation will be a variation on one of the following four strategies:
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 = Severity x Likelihood
For example: With the advent of satellites in space, there is the possibility that a piece of space junk could land on the heads of both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh 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.
IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications
This article relates to the following IWFM (BIFM) Qualification Units:
- IWFM (BIFM) Level 3 in Facilities Management
- FM3.05 Health and Safety Responsibilities in Facilities Management
- FM3.13 Contribute to Disaster Recovery and Contingency Planning
- IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
- FM4.05 Managing Health and Safety in own area of Facilities Management
- IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
- FM5.04 Risk Management in Facilities Management
- IWFM (BIFM) Level 6 in Facilities Management
- FM6.02 Facilities Management Governance and Risk