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5-Step Approach to Managing Risk (oh, no it isn’t)


Imagine a scene.  


Part 1 (identify the hazard ) – following a hot-debrief post management review of an incident where a colleague has been verbally abused, threatened and assaulted it has been decided that what is needed for all staff to be trained…

Sounds familiar?  

Everyone needs a morale boost, and everyone ‘having’ to attend training is known (allegedly) to be the best way to improve organisational reputation!


Part 2 (assess the risk) – it is now decided that the next thing to do is to put the word out that we need ‘everyone’ trained to ‘stop’ this ‘ever’ happening again.  With that communication goes out, across the internal organisation community of staff, for anyone who knows a good instructor to pass their details to management who will book them to come along and deliver self-defence/breakaways/disengagement training.  The meaning behind a good instructor is someone who has dealt with these types of behaviour before (ie; people fighting), and they can therefore bring their ‘streetwise’ knowledge to add value to the course (ie; staff learning and development).  


Part 3 (control the risk) – following a phone call between senior and influential organisational representatives, who do not necessarily perform any customer/client-facing duties, an instructor is identified and a ½ day physical intervention course is agreed upon.  Also, to maximise the logistics of planning, it has been decided that 2 3-hour courses per day will be delivered to all staff; even those who are not customer facing.  That way everyone has been included in the training, and therefore no one will be able to complain that they do not know what to do if attacked.  


Part 4 (record your findings) – we are now at/on the training course.  Following an initial brief welcome, introduction and safety briefing there is a short input on the dos and don’ts, along with the rights and wrongs of what you can and cannot do when it comes to protecting yourself and others.

Yes, I am implying that there is no specific teaching or reference to the law and incident reporting (ie; the professional and legal implications related to the use of force).  Now into the practical session.  Before the first technique is demonstrated the instructor explains that in a ‘real-life’ situation you would not have an opportunity to warm up and therefore we shall get straight into it.  (The instructor) ”

I’m going to demonstrate a technique and because we want to reflect reality, I’m going to deliver/present it around 70-90% speed and around 50-75% of my maximum force intensity!”  

Having demonstrated the technique twice, a process which is repeated on all techniques being taught during the course - even those techniques that are very complex are only shown twice

- before the technique to be practised is broken down into a series of parts.

The training now takes place only on the one-dimensional level of learning (ie; imitation – the learner observes the skill and tries to exactly repeat what the instructor demonstrated!)  


Part 5 (review the controls) – in summary, the organisational view is then ‘when’ attacked everyone will now know what to do to properly protect themselves which will stand up in court.


And there you have it…following a (negative) experience suffered by a member of staff, a training need was identified, and a closed-door conversation took place amongst a select but small number of staff.  It was then decided ‘who’ was going trained - everyone!  

How they were going to be trained was left to the ‘street-wise’ instructor, who had limited or no in-depth knowledge about their actual needs across the varying staff job roles.  And ‘why’ was everyone trained because it was deemed to be the fairest and most inclusive approach.


As you have long gathered by now, this is a made-up (spoof) story but how many of you recognise sprinklings of reality throughout?    


The reality - whilst the aspiration is to prevent all challenging, aggressive and/or violent behaviours towards or around staff, very sadly the reality is that from time to time some staff will directly or indirectly find themselves exposed to these types of psychological, verbal and physically challenging behaviours.


Management has a responsibility to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff.

Do you/your workplace:

• Have post-incident review and welfare support processes in place?

• Carry out training needs analysis which includes staff questionnaires/consultation?

• Know how to go about finding the ‘right’ training provider?  



Speak to you soon,

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