Failure is a good thing.
No? Don’t think so? Let me rephrase that.
A certain degree of failure is a good thing
You’ve probably noticed as you went along through life that you learned the most, and the lesson stuck in your memory the best, as a result of a failure. I suspect you’ve also noticed that consequences resulting from failure are more severe than the consequences of success.
Failure, when not existential, allows an individual or organization to self-reflect on where things could have been managed or planned or handled better. Each failure helps establish a more comprehensive benchmark against which future success or failure can be measured.
For the purposes of this blog, there are two main modes of failure:
1. Failure that encourages more failure
2. Failure that leads to growth and improvement
Failure that encourages more failure could also be described as inaction. Inaction can develop into a slippery slope, possibly ending in negligence.
An example could be an employer assessing the performance of their Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) based on past experience. To generalize, that could take the form of “We don’t need to do annual review of our HSMS, nothing bad has happened yet, so our HSMS is working properly”. The failure to assess their HSMS can only lead to more failure in the future.
More progressive employers use failure as a catalyst for growth and
The concept of planning and innovation, based on an identified problem or failure is called continual improvement. Continual improvement doesn’t just apply to health and safety though, it applies to many aspects of business, and can also be applied to life in general.
The point of the COR audit is to drive continual improvement of employer’s health and safety management systems (HSMS). The audit itself is a tool, used to discover omissions or deficiencies in employer’s HSMS’s. You could call those weaknesses or deficiencies, failures.
During maintenance years, employers can fail the audit with no loss of incentive payment or COR certification. That is a very important aspect of the audit process. The ability to fail allows employers to accurately and fairly assess their HSMS. Essentially, the internal auditor has carte blanche when reviewing their employer’s HSMS. During maintenance years, there are no limits, whether it’s a pass or fail, the auditor can drive the maximum amount of continual improvement at the organization.
It isn’t just about finding the faults though. To affect change, the deficiencies discovered by the audit tool need to be remedied through application of an action plan. Once the action plan is developed and delegated, employees need to actually carry out the remedies.
Anything less, would just be failure that encourages more failure.