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How to Manage Risk during Organizational Changes


Safety regulations and guidelines across North America call out for the need to manage risk due to organizational changes. Ensuring that safety critical roles are effectively maintained when changes are made to either personnel or positions is an essential requirement for every process or pipeline safety program. This is needed now more than ever as companies find themselves engaged in consolidation from mergers and acquisitions as well as adapting to changes in the market.

How to Manage Risk during Organizational Changes
How to Manage Risk during Organizational Changes

Managing the following 5 (five) types of changes will help reduce risk during and after organizational changes have occurred:

  1. Personnel Changes refer to changes to safety critical roles, skills, and people

  2. Structural Changes are changes to safety critical positions, accountability, and critical management programs

  3. Temporary Conditions refer to transitional changes when people take on temporary assignments or as interim structural changes are being made. It is during these transitions that risk is at its highest and where maintaining safety is most critical.

  4. Policy and Procedure Changes can effect the ability to manage risk during the organizational change. For example, introducing travel bans may impact the ability to conduct field safety assessments.

  5. Risk Profile Changes during and after changes are implemented need to be assessed and managed appropriately.

Managing these changes goes beyond on-boarding processes and involves process and pipeline safety expertise in addition to traditional human resource skills. A risk based approach is also beneficial so that the right level of rigor appropriate for the level of risk is applied.

Plan-Do-Check-Act Questions:

  1. How well is your company managing risk during organizational changes?

  2. Is there a change process in place and how effective is it?

  3. Are safety critical positions identified and are roles effectively transitioned? Which ones need attention?

  4. What step can you take today to improve your organizational change process?


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