Tools - Safety Accountability

With recent changes to Bill C-45, it places legal accountability on Managers (can be sued personally and company may not be able to help defend). If you manage/lead others in projects, no matter what type of industry, the team will face safety hazards.  So ensure you cover this (see below) and create a safety culture.

Changes occurred several years ago to put more responsibility and accountability to managers.

Each provincial government has its own occupational health and safety (OH&S) act and regulations.  Within SK there is the OH&S Act 1996 and OC&S regulations 1996.  OH&S laws are regulatory in nature to encourage compliance and deter non-compliance (vs. punitive in nature).

To get a free download of the Act, goto:

With any work place accident or incident, provincial labour representatives have authority to investigate the accident with potential to recommend charges.  This is also the case with the police, who have the authority to investigate the accident with potential to lay charges.

Criminal code charges may fall under Bill C-45 (which has also been referred to as the “Westray Bill”.  In 1992 the Westray mine had a disaster (after repeated warnings and disregard to safety by management) where 26 people lost their lives.  No one was convicted in association with the disaster. 

Bill C-45 makes it easier to convict an organization and criminally prosecute management personnel of the organization.

Section 217 is summarized as: everyone who undertakes or has the authority to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person or any other person, arising from that work or task.

To help prevent prosecution a person must prove that they took reasonable steps or did their “due diligence” to prevent the accident or incident. Due diligence can be described as:

  • establishing a proper system to prevent commission of an accident or incident and/or
  • taking reasonable steps to ensure the effective operation of the system.

This has elements of subjectivity so a general rule of thumb is to do as much planning in advance as possible, avoid last minute plans or environments that are not conducive to good planning.

Two key methods of taking reasonable steps (due diligence) include:

  • ensuring you and your workers are aware of and in compliance with parts of the OH&S Act and regulations that apply to the job,
  • ensuring you and your workers follow a site/company OH&S program and set of procedures.

Other examples could include:  appropriate PPE, safety meetings, proper supervision, adequate training, work permit system, an emergency response plan, accident investigation system, inspection process, preventative maintenance process, hazard/controls system, quality management system, and good document management.

Additional examples of safety planning methods include:
  • Safety hazard analysis – these are systematic reviews of the processes of the job at hand.  Each job that has potential hazard to personnel, general public or any person that comes on site (suppliers, transport, guests, etc).  In association with the hazards (also known as risk) should be an adequate level of controls put in place.  The risks must be lowered to a manageable level (by use of controls) before the job is started.  
  • Contractor Safety Analysis – in order to dramatically improve the safety of the project, the buyer should ensure that safety is a filtering criteria of the contractor selection process.  Buyers should ensure that at a minimum, information is include related to:
    • safety record;
    • safety milestones;
    • safety tools and techniques;
    • safety performance reporting and communications;
    • safety references;
    • safety training;
    • safety and quality culture (as viewed by all levels of resources);
    • safety and quality methodologies/systems.

  • Incentives – another way to ensure the contractors are focused on safety is to align financial compensation with objective measurements and results of safety.  Examples include bonuses for levels of time without safety incident, and levels of time without lost time due to safety incidents, etc.  Often the incentives do not have to be monetary but can be merchandise, gift certificates, etc.  If utilizing this approach, it must be ensured there is an effective and open system to report all incidents that occur (incidents are not covered up or ignored).

Safety planning is focused on developing a consistent structure approach that manages the hazards to safety of the resources of the project.  Safety planning inputs include:

·         Laws and regulations;

·         Contract requirements;
·         Safety policy;
·         Site location;
·         Management commitment.

Outputs include:
·         Project safety plan;
·         Authority;
·         Budget.

The one true goal of every manager of every industry is to focus on a Safety Culture.  We all want this, so ensure the team understands and is embracing it.



Tools - Risk Wheel

Scope, Time, Cost used to be the big 3.  Then Quality and Communication joined the priority list.  Now it seems the only true priority knowledge area that takes priority in management Risk.

Business and Project Management is all about risk.  As humans, we take risk every day in personal and work life.  Our ability to learn, grow and advance in how we deliver work is constantly evolving.

It is common now for all roles (front line to exec) within an organization to have training  about the basics of business and project management.  We live in a highly interconnected, collaborative world and it is the future. This is the path to true success and we are rapidly getting better at this.  

We are getting to a point where we all generally understand the steps how to properly deliver work but we still have challenges dealing with uncertainty and mis-aligned expectations.  There is so much info at our finger tips related to methods, systems and tools how to get work done.  However, there is still a shortage of tools that deal with unknowns and the abstract (and humans are not comfortable in that zone). Risk is where things may or may not happen, how we manage that and be proactive as possible, is the essence of risk management.  This will be the next knowledge area that has large gaps and opportunities to pursue in terms of achieving success.

We have found good methods and supporting details from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Their website is:

A good sample of a Risk Wheel which is general enough to use for all types of projects and roles and help them be on the same page of understanding, is included below.

Risk Management
Included below is an example of a risk monitoring and controlling process (please reference the Software Engineering Institute, for further details).  The process is represented as a circle to emphasize that risk management is a continuous process that will evolve throughout the project life cycle.

Communication is placed in the center of the circle because it is both the conduit through which all information flows and is also considered the most influential risk activity.

See diagram below:

 A brief summary of each risk management subprocess is further defined as:

·         Identify - Before risks can be managed, they must be identified and logged (e.g. logged into the Issues and Actions Log). Identification helps to prevent risks from becoming problems and adversely affecting a project.  Project managers must continually urge the project personnel to raise questions, concerns and issues for subsequent analysis.  Meetings should be held on a regular basis, (frequency dependant on complexity and duration of project), in order to facilitate the identification of risks.  An effective way to identify risk is to identify the process, break down the process into steps and associate each step with the level of risk.  Note:  when risk identification occurs, the pre-control level and the post-control level should be identified.

·         Analyze – Information is analyzed, validated, prioritized and quantified in order to provide a platform to base overall project risk management plans on.  Analysis allows the PM to convert risk data into risk decision-making information and hence provide the basis to work on the right risks at the right time with the right people.  Note:  risk should be assessed in relation to the value from the controls being in place, e.g. how much of a change in level of risk from pre-control to post-controlled (how much residual risk remains),

·         Plan – response planning transforms risk information into risk management decisions and actions (both present and future). Planning involves developing actions to address individual risks, prioritizing risk actions, and creating an integrated risk management plan and responding to the risk by acting on the plan. 

Study the risk further to acquire more information and better determine the characteristics of the risk to enable decision making.  The key to risk action planning is to consider future consequences of a decision that is made today.
Note:  how is residual risk addressed, all risks do not have to be mitigated, they must however have a response strategy

·         Track - Appropriate risk metrics are identified, tracked and monitored to enable the evaluation of the status of risks themselves and of risk mitigation plans. Tracking serves as the “watch dog” function of management.  It is essential that a tracking plan is included in the overall Risk Management plan.  Note:  levels of risk will continually change and must be tracked

·         Control - Risk control corrects for deviations from planned risk actions. Once the risk metrics and triggering events have been defined and agreed upon, there is nothing unique about risk control. Rather, risk control, validation and mitigation will meld into project management and will rely on the already established project management processes to control risk action plans, correct for change and variations from plans, respond to triggering events and improve risk management processes and planning.  The level of effort associated with risk control should be adjusted throughout the project life cycle but should never be stopped.  Note:  risk control is an ongoing process from start to end of the project

·         Communicate - Risk communication lies at the center of the model to emphasize both its pervasiveness and its vital importance. Without effective communication, no risk management approach can be viable.  While communication facilitates interaction among the elements of the model, there are higher level communications to consider as well.

To be analyzed and managed correctly, risks must be communicated to and among the appropriate organizational levels and entities. This includes levels within the development project and organization, within the customer organization, and most especially, across that threshold between the developer, the customer, and, where different, the user. Because communication is pervasive, the best approach is to address it as integral to every risk management activity and not as something performed outside of, and as a supplement to, other activities.  Note:  involve as many stakeholders as possible in risk management processes and ensure all workers are aware of the risks they face for each individual job

Thoughts - does Time trump Scope & Cost

We are in an age of integration and collaboration.  Dependencies are critical aspects of how work gets done.  This has always been the case but in the past we did not have enough maturity to realize the indirect impacts that occur when a project does not meet the schedule milestones. 

Work organizational structure has shifted away from functional towards Matrix and Projectized environments, where different people from different departments and companies are now key members of a team.  In the old days, the other stakeholders impacted just had to deal with it and the costs they incurred are rarely included in the project that missed the deadline.  We are slowly getting to a point where the number one priority is Time.

Remember to ask that question and document it for every project, clarify with the Sponsors and communicate to the team, what is the sequnce of priorities so if trade-offs are needed, we know which ones cannot bend, example: 1) Time, 2) Cost, 3) Scope then 4) Quality.

We have covered this before, but always good to review, below is also a quick article about this:

Now getting back to the importance of time, below is also a neat little excerpt about the importance of it.  This crosses over between work life and personal life which we all can do better at to help us manage our stresses.  You may notice that one of the lines was added by me, I am sure you will guess which one :)

To realize The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize The value of one year:
Ask a student who Has failed a final exam.

To realize The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

To realize The value of one month:
Ask a mother Who has given birth to A premature baby....

 To realize The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize The value of one minute:
Ask a person Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize The value of one-second:
Ask a person Who has survived an accident.

To realize the true value of a missed project deadline
Ask a project manager
Time waits for no one.  Don't let things get away on you!