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Something Went Wrong, Now What?

As long as we’re human beings, errors will happen. How we respond to them is paramount to learning from them versus repeating them. Human error reduction training and regulatory compliance courses online or in person will never stop the inevitable but can reduce it and prevent it in most cases.

Nearly 23% of unplanned downtime in manufacturing is the result of human error. Guess what? It will happen. One of the most important parts of human error prevention training or any professionally developed curricula on how to prevent human error in workplace scenarios stares error realistically in the face.
How should you respond to errors when they strike?

Take a breath, step back

A methodical approach to workplace errors demands a clear head. Regardless of whether the error is an emergency or not, you and your team must approach the situation without rushing. Errors compound when a scenario isn’t fully absorbed before addressing it. Take a breath and analyze exactly what has gone wrong.

Step by step

Errors are rarely the result of only one thing going wrong. They’re usually borne from a few small errors that result in a larger collapse. It’s important to analyze the error and identify exactly which parts went wrong, even the most minimal ones, each step of the way. Leave no stone unturned.

Make it a learning experience

Laying blame in an error situation does no good in repairing the mistake, nor in teaching how to avoid it in the future. Errors are your chief learning materials in error avoidance. Sure, that sounds strange, but human error prevention tools wouldn’t be necessary without errors in the first place. Best make them places where learning is encouraged and blame is left at the door.

Regulatory compliance courses online can only cover so many instances of error. While they’re helpful, it’s important to implement real-time error recovery strategies, because no regulatory course can tackle the exact circumstances of your workplace. Nor can it know the people in your workplace.

Error, distinctly human, requires the presence of mind to guide it into the correct direction. Where errors win are in poor responses, rushed and incomplete analysis, and stifled learning. As obnoxious as errors may be, they’re not going anywhere, so mold them into learning strategies that guarantee they don’t become repetitive.