What is Change Management And Is It Important for Risk Management?

Change Management or Management of Change (MoC) is a “process” that helps us to ensure that proposed changes don’t result in introducing new hazards or increasing the existing hazards profile. Change Management plays a critical role in business and operations risks management. It is important to get the right “ingredients” for successful Change Management.

Simply put, it does “what it says on the tin” but let me expand on this. When we set out to make or want a change, we want that change because there are reasons. Reasons could be for Health, Safety or Environment (HSE), Financial, Production, People, Personal etc.

For example: losing weight might be a change that an individual is aiming for…but how that change is done is critical. The danger is that if this “change is not managed” the consequences could be negative and perhaps fatal?

Change Management or MoC is “specific” and “tailor-made” for reviewing proposed changes. Changes can be related to design, operations, organisation, or activities.

The Change Management process includes steps to help ensure that potentially affected personnel are notified of the change and that documents, such as procedures, process safety knowledge, and so forth, are kept up-to-date.

Why do we have Change Management?

We have covered this above but for clarity, the Change Management process allows us to ensure that proposed changes don’t result in introducing new hazards or increasing the existing hazards profile.

Unfortunately, history is “littered” with events, incidents and accidents.

A deep dive into the root causes of some of the major events have shown us that if we don’t have a “robust” MoC process in place, we are doomed to repeat events or even create new events for history.

When should we do Change Management?

Stating the obvious here…but do the Change Management before you implement the change. Retrofitting costs and we don’t want to expose the organisation or people to additional hazards.

Here I want to bring in the header picture comment “like-for-like”.

This is a strange expression but similar to “same-same”, “replacement in kind” and basically means replacing with exactly the same model, version, equipment etc. In other words, assuming (not a good thing to do in the world of HSE) that hazards were all assessed when the change was first introduced, then replacing with exactly the same is not going to increase the hazard profile.

One sticky area is when it comes to “Organisational Change” and people. Unless we start cloning, it is unlikely that we will have a “like for like” scenario. This is why we have such a wide playing field when it comes to “people and HSE”. A very big subject area and better covered with a separate article. Many organisations now have a “MoOC” process – Management of Organisational Change. Sorry to introduce more acronyms to you 😔

Where is Change Management carried out?

The more important point here is…successfully executing Change Management and ensuring actions are completed prior to change implementation. You can fit the “where” piece relative to your Organisational or other specific needs.

Who should do Change Management?

Typically, what happens is as follows:

  1. An individual originates a change request via the Change Management process in the Organisation….do you have one?
  2. Qualified personnel, independent of the change requestor reviews the request. They have the “first go” at determining if any potentially adverse impacts could result from the proposed or requested changes. They may ask questions and suggest additional measures for consideration.
  3. Following a review process (perhaps there is a Change Management review team), the change is either authorised, amended, or rejected.
  4. After all the necessary approvals the change will either get the “Go” or “No Go”.

I really have not done justice with the above. The intention is to share with you a quick overview on the steps involved.

How is Change Management carried out…?

This is again an article in its own right.

But in essence, it is important to have an approved procedure in place and other critical aspects that support a successful Change Management process. The latter includes providing documentation, training, awareness, analysis tools and tracking systems to make sure actions are completed prior to changes.

And on a final note:

This article provides an overview of Change Management (or Management of Change, MoC). The article is not definitive nor exhaustive with regard to the inbuilt processes and framework….but:

The message here is simple…Change Management should be done before implementing new changes to avoid being another reference point in history.

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