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Integrating Mitigations with redundancies in an Industrial Process


Riskope was recently asked to review a risk assessment for an industrial process undergoing major expansion and upgrades. The proposed facility had been the object of prior HAZOP and FMEA. Neither gave the client required comfort that design decision-making was supported in the best possible way. Riskope started by facilitating the definition of the operation’s success criteria, its metric, and related failure criteria and consequence metrics. The system was then described and modeled including extant mitigative measures, redundancies and passive…

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Future predictions, uncertainty and Unpredictability


Some authors state that the key difference between human intelligence and animal intelligence is that human perform “conscious and not infrequent planning for the future”. Maybe that started with a “where do we search for food today” question. As we often discuss in this blog, planning in the face of uncertainty requires some notion of what is likely or unlikely to happen. From here, it only seems “natural” that we must all have some intuitive notion related to likelihood, most…

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The latent crisis of Mine Wastewater and Colorado State of Emergency


On August 10, 2015 at Gold King Mine near Durango, Colorado millions of gallons of toxic sludge were accidentally discharged into the Animas River by a EPA cleanup crew. But lets start with a bit of context: Starting in the 1870s, miners rushed to the Silverton region to seek out gold, silver, and other valuable resources. The entrance to the Gold King Mine has long been collapsed, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) planned to clear material blocking the tunnel…

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Risk advisor comments world news related to mining and health & safety


Two separate instances just appeared in the South East Asia media which illustrate two cases of “involuntary risks” that populations may be exposed to. Here are the summaries: 1) Downpours in Quang Ninh (July 27 to August 2) Considered the worst in the past forty years, have reportedly caused flooding and landslides, along with toxic sludge spills from coal mines which are now under Business Interruption. NB: 1/40 is certainly not what one could call a Black Swan, right? Authorities…

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Your neighbor’s (third party) operational hazards can generate risks requiring a strategic shift.


We live in a complex interconnected world which generates interdependencies some times very difficult to detect/understand. Interdependencies are of different kinds: physical, geographical, logical, cyber. Earlier this year, the US Pentagon mistakenly sent live anthrax to at least nine labs in the US and to a US military base in South Korea using Fedex, a classic example of logical interdependency (that’s the classification, although the fact in itself seems quite illogical!) for the recipient labs. An accidental spill from a…

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BBQ risks, Probability, uncertainty and unpredictability


Today it’s kinda windy, some clouds, I feel just fine, but my wife thinks it’s cold when the sun goes incognito behind the clouds. Quite an uncertain weather, right? Focus now on the possible downward outcome: rain later in the day, during our open air BBQ (rain is the hazard, BBQ is the part of the system which will be potentially hit). We can measure the related uncertainty using the POP (Probability of Precipitation) released by the weather channel, or…

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Mining in the Appalachians, West Virginia, and Health Consequences to neighboring population.


We have recently read about US Federal officials planning to recommend the National Academy of Sciences to review a series of studies that have found residents living near mountaintop removal mining operations facing increased rates of serious illnesses and premature death. The request is a consequence of more than two dozens of peer-reviewed publications by Former West Virginia University researcher Michael Hendryx and other scientists stating that residents living near mountaintop removal mines face a greater risk of cancer, birth…

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