AESOP™ Overview

Updated: May 4, 2020


The AESOP MINI-HUDDLE is a tool to help us to identify all risks prior to making a decision and assess their combined potential to cause a problem. It is an easy to remember acronym/checklist that consists of five questions that help you quickly determine the level of risk involved for an individual or team for any given task, project or event.

What makes AESOP™ especially powerful is that the individual or team leader can adjust the questions asked to fit the particular situation being assessed.

The A in AESOP™ is for Assignment.

Some of the questions we could ask about the Assignment are:

  1. Is the assignment clearly stated?

  2. Is anyone not clear on what their assignment is?

  3. Do we have all the information we need about what we are supposed to do?

  4. Are there any risk factors with completing this assignment?

The E in AESOP™, is for Equipment.

We want to assess all resources necessary to accomplish this assignment, including hardware, software, procedures, etc.

Some of the questions we could ask about Equipment are:

  1. What do we need to accomplish the task?

  2. Is it available?

  3. Is the equipment appropriate for the job?

  4. Is the equipment appropriate and working properly?

We will skip over the S for now, as it is our last stop on the checklist.

The O in AESOP™, is for Obstacles.

Some of the questions we ask about Obstacles are:

  1. Are there any obstacles to completing this task with these resources?

  2. Are there any other problems we haven’t addressed?

The P in AESOP™, is for Personnel.

Some of the questions we ask about Personnel are:

  1. Who do we need to accomplish this task, and are they available?

  2. Does each person have the necessary training and experience to successfully accomplish their task?

  3. Has “I’M SAFE” been used to assess staff readiness to undertake the task?

Finally, there is a synergy of risk. A particular problem may not seem to add much risk, but when combined with other risk factors it may be the straw that broke the camel’s back, so we conclude by going back to the letter S to assess the overall Situation by asking each person if their Situation is:

  • Green – Good to go

  • Yellow – Ragged Edge = Proceed with caution

  • Red – Stop until risk factors can be mitigated or eliminated.

How long should it take to do an AESOP™?

It depends. If you are using AESOP™ for a personal task it can take as little as 30 seconds, while in a group focused on a complex task it may include some discussion and thus take longer to complete. In either case it is a small but worthy investment to ensure that that all the risk factors have been addressed and the proper decision is made by knowing the risk.

Who should use AESOP™?

Everyone! It works as well for your personal life, tasks and projects as it does in a work environment. Many people have shared that taking that extra minute or two to do AESOP helped them to avoid serious mistakes and even save lives.

When should you use AESOP™?

Use AESOP™ at each stage of planning and prior to, during, and after performing tasks.

It is often used by team leaders at the start of a day or shift to reinforce the process and make sure the day’s assignments and risks are clear to all. AESOP is also useful when doing work or something new or out of sequence.

Where should I use AESOP™?

AESOP’s checklist can be done anywhere. From your home, car, office or work facility. Anytime you get that PINCH that something doesn’t feel right you can do an individual or group AESOP MINI HUDDLE.

Why does AESOP™ work?

Most of us get caught up in our day to day activities and have not developed a thought process for what to do when we feel something isn’t quite right. We just plow ahead, only to wind up making a mistake and looking back knowing that we thought something like that might happen. We call this a PINCH. When you get that feeling, you need to stop and quickly do a risk analysis using AESOP™. Our customers have proven over and over again that this process reduces mistakes which lead to incidents and accidents.

I’m just starting, how can I remember the AESOP™ process?

EPI has developed a number of tools to help you remember the AESOP™ process. We can provide posters, banners, badges and even a phone checklist app that walks you through the AESOP™ process. You can find these items on our website or you may contact us directly for custom tailored reminder solutions.

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