In many of the arguments about the Grenfell fire,

the question of compliance with Building Regulations comes up. It has a sense of deja vu for me. I have so often been in discussions where the question of compliance, with one thing or another, has come up. Now, of course, I am not going to advise anyone to fail to comply with legal requirements. However, I am concerned that people often think thy are doing enough if they comply.

Some regulations may be overprescriptive, but a many are not. Many set out the minimum standard. All too often, people choose to ignore guidelines or advice on best practice, if these have no statutory authority.

Behind the bar.

I can remember a time when a lot of fatalities in motor accidents were the result of a car running into the back of a lorry. That is because lorries are higher than cars and the rear bumper, or some part of the lorry, went through the car’s windscreen, killing the driver and any front-seat passenger.  A simple remedy was suggested. Attach a bar to the back of every lorry at car-bumper height. Thus the impact of a collision would be taken by the vehicle, not the driver. It was so obvious, but a lot of lorries did not acquire such bars until they were made compulsory. How many needless deaths occurred in the interim, due to the compliance mentality?

You can probably think of similar examples in your industry.

Are you doing enough?

The aim of Risk Management should not be mere compliance. It should be managing risks. Sometimes regulations can be overprescriptive and work against the better management of risks. We just have to live with them. Or get someone to revise them. But do try to understand why they are there.

What steps do you need to take to go beyond compliance towards best practice, or the most appropriate practice for you?

I wrote about this in my book Load the Dice.

Load the dice - go beyond compliance