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How to manage risk with a Risk Register

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What is a Risk Register…and how can it help to manage risk?

Managing corporate and project risk is critical to good governance.

In construction industry project management, risk is a key factor in successful project outcomes including corporate, safety and environment risk. A Risk Register documents and assesses potential risks – past, present and projected – to manage the overall project risk.

Risk assessment, risk control and review are part of a process required to be undertaken by persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to identify and either eliminate or control any foreseeable hazards, under Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation.

This is captured in the Risk Register to ensure that planning and operational strategising are completed effectively. In OHS, there is no greater risk than uncertainty and no greater loss than historical knowledge, according to director at Lucidity Software, Norine Cruse.

The problem is, we are often too busy to be completely aware of, and to consider, our surroundings. Plus, we only know what we know from our own knowledge and experiences.

“Uncertainty exists because there is no time for considered risk assessment,” says Cruse. “Review of previous risk assessments and previous knowledge is not available.”

When new project commences, bright, new ideas might be applied without a thorough risk assessment having been conducted. The difficulty here is that risk might be created and experienced by the team working on that particular project, and the knowledge developed isn’t documented, resulting in a loss of information that could be a useful reference for future project managers and their teams.

Cruse outlines what needs to happen in order to mitigate this:

  • Every experience needs to be captured in a central risk source.

  • Previous risks, their assessment and proven risk controls must be available on tap – no searching, no asking, no effort.

  • New information must be immediately captured and assessed in a central source for risk assessments and knowledge sharing right now and in the future.

Lucidity’s Risk Register is a useful tool for documenting risk and consolidating all relevant information; a central source that’s readily available and easy to use. In capturing historical and current records of risk, project managers are exposed to all lessons learnt.