Doing a Risk Assessment on your business is great, but where should you stop?

Doing a Risk Assessment on your business is great, but where should you stop?

Apr 30th, 2015

Doing a Risk Assessment on your business is great, but where should you stop?

  • On March 4th 2015 a chemical fire fueled by trichloroisocyanuric acid from a container forced hundreds in Vancouver’s downtown core to stay indoors and triggered partial evacuation in the city.
  • On April 8th 2015 Vancouver woke up with at least least 2,700 liters of “bunker fuel” spill in its bay.
  • On April 16th a fire broke at Squamish Terminals deep-water port in B.C.

Those three events made me think of a Risk Assessment performed a couple years ago on commercial wharves and related logistics along the Burrard inlet. During the study development it became evident that some accidents (mishaps) occurring within that area, generated by other, relatively remotely located facilities, could cause considerable down time to our client. Remotely generated impacts from industrial and natural mishaps can hit your operations.

Burrard inlet

Burrard inlet

We compiled a map of all noteworthy hazardous facilities in the Burrard inlet and used a key-color to differentiate various types of potential impacts such as, for example, chemical spills, oil spills etc. on ground or marine operations.
Unfortunately there is no single resource which compiles all the possible impacts, so we had to devote some extra efforts to the identification phase, using maps and direct enquiries, which proved, after all, relatively straightforward.

Once that was done, those newly identified hazards were integrated in the client’s risk register, characterizing their potential consequences and likelihoods. A well balanced risk assessment methodology should have the capability to discern between low consequence-high likelihood and high consequence-low likelihood events, operational and tactical risks, manageable and unmanageable risks using a transparently defined tolerance criteria.

Remember: to understand the big picture of the risks impinging on your business it is paramount to define the boundaries of your system. Your model will reflect a more realistic environment if the boundaries of the system are rationally defined.

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Category: Consequences, Hazard, Probabilities, Risk analysis, Risk management, Tolerance/Acceptability

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