Risk Management

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Risks in Healthcare Projects

This paper is a report on risk management on selected projects pertaining to the healthcare and transportation industries in the Huston economy. The paper reports on various risks which a project manager would have to deal with. It pays emphasis on the Huston economy and its healthcare and transportation industries. The healthcare and transportation industries are crucial drivers of every successful economy. Projects in improvement and maintenance of the infrastructure and manpower in these industries are, therefore, a constant occurrence. In the management of such projects, there are numerous risks that the manager would face, and they cannot be able to handle or mitigate these risks, they could prove detrimental to the project. This paper reports on the anticipation of these risks when embarking on a project. It delves into best practices to avoid the risks and how best to handle and mitigate them if one finds themselves challenged by them. The paper will provide crucial insight into the causes of the risks and how best to go around the situations. The report will make use of the healthcare and transportation industries to illustrate this. Huston boasts a robust economy, skilled manpower, state of the art infrastructure and world-class transportation system and therefore provides a good ground for analysis of risks management in handling projects.

In order to adequately report on the process of risk management and mitigation, it is important to understand what risk management is. Risk management, as the name suggests, involves the identification of risks which are the assessed done to prioritize steps with which to approach the situation. This is followed by careful arrangement and coordination of resources to avoid or reduce the negative impact of unfortunate events associated with the identified risks, in a bid to achieve the objective of a particular project (Al-Bahar & Crandall, 1990). Risk management seeks to anticipate challenges that a project might face in future and try to put mitigation measures in place to avoid the challenges or reduce their impact in case they occur. All this is in a bid to make the project objectives are achieved in a cost-effective manner.

As mentioned earlier health care is a crucial part of any successful economy or one that aspires to be successful. Huston as an economy boasts of highly skilled manpower. Their health is, therefore, crucial as it directly impacts on their productivity. The healthcare system is therefore well developed in Huston and it actually contributes the economy. The healthcare system in Huston serves patients from all over the world. It is recorded to be treating over 5 million patients every year with the number rising with every year (Campbell et al, 1991). In consideration of this aspect, it, therefore, requires making constant improvements and expansion of its healthcare infrastructure. Healthcare construction projects are therefore constant in Huston. There are numerous risks that are associated with a healthcare construction project. As per its definition, risk management starts with the identification of the risks that are likely to be faced by the project. In a healthcare construction setting the following risks could be faced;

The workers of the construction project are susceptible to illness as a result of airborne pathogens that are common in a hospital setting. The risk is amplified as construction goes on as the process releases dust and disease-inducing organisms into the atmosphere (Nieva & Sorra, 2003). Records have indicated that more than one in five illnesses in the construction works occurs in a hospital setting. It is, therefore, important for the city of Huston of the impact of this risk on the construction workforce while it works on renovations of hospitals. The worker's susceptibility to illness should be taken into consideration while initiating such projects. In the case of the illness, the progression of the projects would be severely affected. A project manager should, therefore, be able to identify such as risk before embarking on the project (Al-Bahar & Crandall, 1990).

The other risk associated with a healthcare construction project pertains to the operations of the hospital that might be under renovation. As mentioned earlier Huston health care system caters to more than 5 million patients a year. This number is quite significant, and therefore renovations would not be a cause to halt operations in a hospital in Huston. The contentious issue arises with the risks of accidents associated with construction sites that the employees and the patients of the hospital would be facing. In fact, the awareness of the presence of the risks of accidents would affect the working of these employees and the physiological welfare of the patients (Nieva & Sorra, 2003). The environment created by such a project would interfere with the operations of a hospital. A hospital environment should be really silent while a construction environment is a really noisy one.

Another risk that would be associated with such a project is having a challenge in getting building materials on the site without affecting ongoing operations of a hospital. In renovations of a hospital, it is likely that they might be needed in a place that cannot be accessed without passing through other parts of the hospital that would be in use. Getting building materials or manpower on the site without interfering with the operations or regulations of a hospital would, therefore, prove to be a challenge (Al-Bahar & Crandall, 1990). A good project manager should be able to foresee this kind of risk while embarking on a hospital renovation project. Hospital environments are sensitive, and some of the building material would actually contaminate the surroundings of the hospital which is quite undesired as long as it is in use.

Risks in Transportation Projects

One of the factors that make Huston a robust economy is its world-class transportation systems. The systems are a crucial part of ensuring delivery of products and services. The transportation industry makes all other business and operations possible. Huston as a very robust highway system that serves transportation purposes very well. The Huston highway system consists of radical and ring highways. These highways provide adequate access to markets within and outside the region. According to the Huston's CMSA (consolidated metropolitan statistical area), 55%of the freeways and expressways are in operation (Ryus, 2010). There are a huge number of freeways that serves the city. In order to maintain proper delivery of goods and services within and outside Huston, theses road connections have to be in good condition. Therefore the need for constant maintenance arises. On top of maintenance expansion of one, the freeways would come in hand in enhancing faster delivery of goods and services. As such in a project of expanding a freeway, there are various risks that are likely to be faced. The risks would be those aspects that would hinder the realization of the objectives of the project.

One of the risks that would be involved with such a project would be the exposure of workers to accidents. In consideration of the fact that the road would still be required even if it is under expansion, closing it down completely would not be a viable option. Therefore, the workers on site would be exposed to getting hit by cars still using the road as they work. The workers or managers of the project have no control of how the drivers using the road are driving their vehicles and therefore everybody on the site would be exposed to accidents by an irresponsible driver. This risk is quite clear and any project manager mandated to embark on such a project is bound to be cognizant of such. The risk also applies to the road users, as the expansion goes on, there is bound to be a lot of materials and debris on the road and any user who is not extra careful is likely to cause accidents. The interaction of the road expansion activities and road users expose both parties to huge risks as far as vehicle use on the roads is concerned (Al-Bahar & Crandall, 1990).

The other risk associated with such a project is that of not being able to complete the project on time. The project manager should be able to identify that under such circumstances the project is bound to run slower than they would be anticipating. This is because of the fact that other road users would interfere with the normal pace of such works. This means they would at times have to stop the works to let vehicles pass. If not, a continuation of works would possibly cause traffic snarl-ups that would adversely affect the economy of the city. It is not, therefore, desirable that there be traffic jams, but since the expansion works are important too, the works would have to go on but a risk of them going too slow than they normally would be. A project manager in charge of such a project should be able to easily foresee such a risk.

Another that would be associated with a freeway expansion in Huston would be the company doing the renovation incurring losses. The risk would be brought along by the fact that the road would be used while still in construction. The usage of the roads by motorists while still in construction is likely to interfere with the quality required and would mean the works should be redone in some parts. This puts the company in charge of the works at the risk of incurring losses. The project manager in charge of such a project should be able to anticipate such a risk and inform the company of such. The risk is associated with works getting redone and wasted road construction materials by vehicles passing by before the road has been fully done. The risk is also quite clear and should be easily anticipated.

Mitigation Measures

As identified there are several risks that would be associated with the renovation of healthcare infrastructure in hospitals in Huston. One of the risks identified was workers being exposed to illness as a result of the airborne pathogens associated with hospitals. I would recommend that it be ensured that the hospital environment is sterilized of such organisms and the workers be provided with proper safety gear that would prevent them from contracting illness from the said pathogens. This would go a long way in mitigating the risk and ultimately avoid any negative impacts (Nieva & Sorra, 2003).

The other risk that pertains to the welfare of the employees and patients in the hospital under renovation could be mitigated by coming up with a plan where all the operations could be possibly moved to one side of the hospital premises that is away from the renovation sites and as far as possible. This would reduce the noise impacts of the construction processes and the risks of accidents associated with construction sites. Alternatively, the employees of the hospital who would be interacting with the construction sites should be provided with safety gear just like the construction workers to keep the safe in case of any accidents (Al-Bahar & Crandall, 1990). There should also an awareness campaign in the hospital so that everyone is aware of the risks involved with going close to where the works are being carried out. These measures would really help to contain the risks and avert any incidences that would interfere with the operations of the hospital and those of renovation workers.

The last risk was identified to be associated with challenges in getting building materials on site as a result of other operations of the hospital. Just like in the above risk, the mitigation of this risk requires proper planning. The plan I proposed in the above risk of pushing the operations of the hospital towards one side of its premises and away from the renovation works would work out in trying to resolve the challenges that would be posed by this risk. Alternatively, if the hospital can do without a certain route, it would be advisable that it be reserved for use just for the renovation purposes. These measures would be able to handle this risk adequately.

Transportation Project

The transportation of Huston has been identified as robust (Ryus, 2010). Regardless, expansion of the freeways would never be a bad idea and would only make its road transportation systems top notch. However, there are several risks that have been identified, that would be associated with such a project.

The first risk identified was associated with exposure of workers to accidents. This risk could be mitigated by mounting appropriate road signs a considerable distance before a motorist reaches the point of expansions. Awareness should be spread too on the importance of adherence to such signs by motorists. Proper legislation should also be enforced on the consequences of any ignoring such signs. The workers should also be equipped with reflector jackets that would enable motorists to notice them from far (Al-Bahar & Crandall, 1990). These measures would work both in favor of the workers on ground and motorists passing by, by significantly reducing the risk of occurrence of the accidents.

The other risk was identified as being associated with the project running slow as a result of multiple activities on the road. By multiple activities, I am referring to the use of the roads by motorists and the expansion activities. This risk could be mitigated by enhancing works at times when the traffic levels are low. This means that more work could be done at such times. The used of more construction workers could also aid in enhancing the speed at which the works are moving. These recommendations are subject to the welfare of the workers though. That is, they should not be overworked at any time and too many of them should not be put on the road as it would increase the risk of accidents occurring.

The last risk pertains to the risk of the company in charge of the renovations running into losses as a result of the use of the road while construction is ongoing. This risk could be mitigated through proper planning. One of the plans would be the one mentioned in the above risk of enhancing work when there is less traffic on the road. This would significantly reduce that risk. The other measure would be a collaboration of the company with local authorities to direct the motorists not to use the parts of the roads that are not ready for use. An awareness campaign and notices on the road would also go a long way in mitigating the risk and hence reducing the impacts of any negative events associated with the risks.

In both industries, I have considered construction project and they have provided a good ground for the contrast of the mitigation associated with reducing the impacts of the risks. There are differences as well as similarities in the setting provides to the projects by the two industries. The common factor has been the use of facilities by appropriate users while the works are going on. It has been evidenced that through proper planning and good risk management, the risks associated can be mitigated and any unfortunate events that might hinder the achievement of the objectives of the objectives averted. All the same, a competent and experienced project manager is required to be able to foresee these risks and anticipate the challenges that the projects might face.

References

Al-Bahar, J. F., & Crandall, K. C. (1990). Systematic risk management approach for construction projects. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 116(3), 533-546.

Campbell, J. L., Hollingsworth, J. R., & Lindberg, L. N. (1991). Governance of the American economy (Vol. 5). Cambridge University Press.

Nieva, V. F., & Sorra, J. (2003). Safety culture assessment: a tool for improving patient safety in healthcare organizations. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 12(suppl 2), ii17-ii23.

Ryus, P. (2010). A methodology for performance measurement and peer comparison in the public transportation industry (No. 141). Transportation Research Board.

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