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Risk Managers are retiring. Corporations have to fight the brain drain or be faced with over-exposures to risks.

The retirement of a corporate risk manager might be the source of critical exposures. It is actually a significant risk per se: one with a high likelihood (everyone ends-up retiring), and potentially large consequences, which can only be mitigated with proactive actions, to be taken well in advance. As a matter of fact, if nothing is done to prevent this drain, risk managers will often take knowledge and on-the-job skill-set home with them, including precious historical knowledge of the job.…

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The devil is in the details.

We all love rounding numbers, i.e. “erasing the decimals” by pushing the value up or down to the nearest, or more pleasing, integer. When we let our “esthetics sense”, or our will to influence our audience, dominate, we will merrily jump way more than the decimals and come out with “media friendly rounded” values such as “one million people came to the streets”. Often the nicest numbers will also be the ones the farthest from reality. Many risk assessments, especially…

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Italian coal miners’ strikes

Had I realized what a life in mining would be like, I’d have head for the hills, rather than become entrenched in it. I was rather surprised to find the mural painting above together with text translated above in italics on the front wall of a house in Orgosolo, in the mountain of Sardinia, one of the main islands of Italy. A few days after I took the picture workers at the last Italian coal mine started a strike entrenching…

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Close Calls and Human Biases

Near misses receive different interpretations in different countries, cultural backgrounds. In some cases they are considered glorified achievements of intuitive semi-gods, in others just plain indicators of near failure. When near misses become repetitive, it can be assumed they are the result of a systemic flaw, which will only require a small “twist of fate” to turn into an accident, possibly a disaster. In an industrial operation we know of, people became accustomed to a loud bang coming from a…

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