It’s is important for every business to have policies and procedures in place to establish, maintain, and enforce a clear chain of responsibility for every operation the business undertakes.
This is a concept that has existed for many years in the military, hospitals, and emergency services, but hasn’t always received the attention it deserves in the majority of civilian work places.
There are many advantages to properly setting up a clear chain of responsibility in your work place. Some of these advantages include:
- Helps workers to better understand their responsibilities. When the responsibilities are clearly defined and understood, and when it is clear there will be consequences for failures related to those responsibilities, it will have a tendency to make workers take a more responsible attitude to their duties.
- Helps with project tracking. With a good system in place to monitor and enforce the chain of responsibility, it provides an easy way to know when tasks have been completed at each step along the chain.
- Helps identify problem areas. When you have staff who are not meeting their responsibilities adequately, there is no place for them to hide when you have a proper chain of responsibility system in place. Keep in mind that it is not always the worker who is at fault, but sometimes the task itself may need more personnel or more training, and the chain of responsibility can help identify this kind of problem.
- Helps cut legal costs. There are some court battles you can win by keeping them going for as long as possible, but it’s usually a counter-productive strategy. The chain of responsibility system can reduce the time it takes to discover if you’re liable, how much you ought to be liable, and who (or what) was ultimately responsible for the problem that occurred. Knowing this information rapidly can at least let your legal team decide when it’s smarter to settle and when it’s smarter to fight.
The most important benefit of implementing a proper chain of responsibility system in your work place is that it will help to eliminate blind spots in your operational oversight. It ultimately ensures that the responsibility for any problem can be traced back to its source as quickly and easily as possible.
The chain of responsibility is integral to safety and risk management
Accidents happen, and they’re not always somebody’s fault. The fault can also be introduced by third parties, and in more extreme situations by criminal activity, industrial sabotage, or even consequences of wildlife. It’s much more usual, however, for such problems to be the result of failures somewhere along the chain of responsibility.
For example, it could be the case that a container supplied by a third party manufacturer breaks open and this results in a safety incident occurring. While part of the blame rests with the supplier who provided the faulty container, the chain of responsibility would allow you to identify who accepted the faulty goods, and to investigate why the faults were not discovered prior to acceptance of the goods.
This shouldn’t be seen as purely a disciplinary issue. There are other very important considerations here, such as identifying the need for training, identifying logistics and supply problems, identifying risk factors, and so on.
LinkSafe is an Australian expert in site management services
To find out more about implementing an effective chain of responsibility system in your work place, contact LinkSafe on 1300 558 102. We can connect you with an expert consultant who will have extensive experience in setting up chain of responsibility in Australian work places.
We are helping Australian businesses create safer working environments and reduce their legal liability problems through effective management and consultation services.