Has your organisation a DRA mindset?

What is a DRA mindset?

It’s being highly aware in different and dynamic contexts; able and ready to take relevant and appropriate action to minimise risk in whatever you are doing – it’s what’s called a Dynamic Risk Assessment mindset.

A DRA mindset is nothing new. It has been common practice where potential loss of life and injuries are a constant threat as in the military or emergency services. The good news is that through focused practice, including some live situations, people can improve their DRA mindset in their context so it has real meaning.

When normally dealing with Risk Assessment through HSE, HR and the like the tendency is to run for the rulebook and find the policy. If a policy doesn’t exist or does not ‘fit’ the situation, the panic is to create it and then tell everyone it exists, ready for the next time something happens. Rulebook evolvement is driven through a series of knee jerk reactions instead of a dynamic mind using a dynamic assessment in different situations.

We all have a DRA mindset

Risk is an everyday occurrence in any business from product or service based industries whether in banking, financial services, manufacturing, construction, retail… in fact anywhere.

Going for a walk, getting on a train or driving a car are common risks that individually we take for granted and yet mostly these trips are undertaken safely. So what is it that changes when it comes to other daily issues where a DRA mindset is required?

Here’s an extract from an experienced professional in Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM)

Working people struggle to get their heads around all the plethora of policy, procedure and protocol in their working environment; worrying about whether they have ticked some box, read some instruction, may have missed some instruction … what, in simple terms, can be regarded as a ‘procedural overload’.

The overload can actually divert and turn some away from the true focus of what they should be doing and thinking about to keep both themselves and those around them safe from harm. Over worrying of risk-averse situations, ‘real safety’ appreciation (not simply the ‘paper-chase’ of safety!) is diminished considerably.

… then let’s consider DYNAMIC RISK ASSESSMENT

In its simplest form a Dynamic Risk Assessment is done by all of us many times a day without really thinking, for example when driving the car or crossing the road. Providing staff with DRA skills allows them to make informed and practical decisions in the face of rapidly changing or uncertain environments. When applied, employees who use their ability, knowledge, training and experience to make informed risk decisions in situations where standard and often rigid protocols do not fit, then a practical culture of Dynamic Risk Assessment will evolve. This can cross-pollinate those parts of the business where process protocols exist and dominates yet may not work in changing circumstances. DRA is situationally driven rather than procedural driven and is a proven solution.

In its purest form, DRA has been used by the emergency services, such as the police, paramedics and fire and rescue, for many years with split second decisions made in high-risk situations. These are capable people able to operate in the sure and certain understanding they have all the component knowledge, skills and ability – the complete mindset – to manage their work so that their employers and colleagues can rely on their proven qualities.

Dynamic Risk Assessment is an essential component of successful safety management in:

  • Organisations for client facing staff in front-line services and enforcement officers
  • Business service organisations where staff have to visit sites with complex or unknown hazards
  • Highly hazardous workplace such as found in explosive atmospheres around the petro-chemical sector where a wrong decision can have potentially catastrophic fatal consequences.

But the techniques learned can be deployed equally well in customer service environments such as in hospitality and retail where a high level of awareness is critical to a successful and happy customer journey.

Applying a Dynamic Risk Assessment culture will make workplaces much safer.

… a business, where people understand dynamic situations and base risk control actions on information only available at the time, will lead to a culture of better safety management … of course, written policies, procedures and protocols around their working environment set out the cultural aims and objectives. However the application of the detail in those written components requires a situational DRA mindset – and empowered employees is key!

David F Jones   FCIOB   FASI   MRICS   M-CDM-C, Chartered Surveyor ~ CDM Consultant & Trainer

Creating a Dynamic Risk Assessment CultureCreating a dynamic risk assessment culture

If you want to develop a Dynamic Risk Assessment culture across your organisation the first step is to change the mindset to accept the concept of what dynamic would mean.

The next step is simple; develop ‘can do’ attitudes and ‘winning minds’.

Of course, you can always take the risk and continue to do what you’re currently doing.


The choice, as ever, is yours.

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