Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report

The Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report became public in January 2018. The story it tells is remarkably similar to the one we assumed, based on publicly available information in the aftermath of the accident. As risk advisers and managers we discuss below the various statements in the Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report. We aim at highlighting risk biases and potential management changes to avoid similar developments. Oroville Dam Spillway Incident Report Conclusions Commented The Independent Forensic Team Report made a number…

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What is the validity of your risk forecast?

When talking to potential customers we oftentimes hear “ What is the validity of your risk forecast? ” What they mean is actually “how precise” our numbers are. That type of questions generally comes from individuals that confuse risk assessment with divinatory arts. They do not recognize that performing a risk assessment is completely different than reading a crystal ball. Another common objection comes from people that claim that no one can evaluate probabilities of events because of complexities, etc.…

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similarities between psychology and risk assessments

The ability to distinguish between different terms is a prerequisite for the acquisition of accurate knowledge, including loss prevention knowledge. Without this capacity, confusion is virtually inevitable. More generally, several words and concepts in loss prevention underscore the necessity of acquiring a specialist vocabulary making fine differentiation among seemingly related but conceptually distinct concepts. As you probably noted the paragraph above is not our writing style. As a matter of fact we only have slightly adapted the conclusion of a…

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Opportunity, experience, learning from mistakes and regrets

Opportunity, experience, learning from mistakes and regrets come up in many conversations. Examples generally start with a IF: I had known what I know now. It would be possible to start over again. A second chance would be possible. It seems like we really firmly believe we can learn from prior mistakes. We can absorb lesson learned and profit from them. However, there is abundant evidence that is not the case. We tend to repeat patterns, even if we know they…

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Unrealistic risk assessment describing a rosy scenario

Keystone pipeline has spilled substantially more oil, and more often, than indicated in the risk assessments the company provided to regulators. But why and how a common risk assessment becomes an unrealistic risk assessment describing a rosy scenario? Indeed what regulators saw in the pre-construction project risk assessment was reportedly the following. “A spill of more than 50 barrels will occur “ not more than once every seven to 11 years over the entire length of the pipeline in the…

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Bringing value to projects and operations

Bringing value to projects and operations is a goal that many pursue. Today we will discuss reliability enhancements as a possible way to add value. What is reliability? Engineers generally define Reliability as the quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well. Example: “the conveyor performance history gives me every confidence in its reliability” which basically means “I am not expecting a major failure”. So, in other words, if you get in your car, turn the ignition and the…

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Sapiezoic geo-ethics demands new tools for slopes’ management

Sapiezoic geo-ethics demands new tools for slopes’ management. Landslides of natural and man-made slopes are well-known hazardous geo-morphological processes. Rather high frequencies and extremely variable consequences, hence highly variable risks are usual characteristics of landslides. Consequences are often multidimensional, insofar lives, infrastructures, environmental and cultural assets may be damaged. Important geoethical issues cover the actions needed to prioritizing and mitigating slopes’ risks in a sustainable way. Thus Sapiezoic geo-ethics demands new tools for slopes’ management. The root cause of slopes’ failures…

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Catastrophic dam failures path forward at Tailings and Mine Waste

The keynote lecture Catastrophic dam failures path forward at Tailings and Mine Waste Conference was an enlightening speech. Henry Brehaut corroborated the views Riskope have expressed over the last decade. The validity of our methodological developments is confirmed once again. We are pleased to comment and express some impressions from the keynote lecture. The message Henry Brehaut delivered includes looking at: getting things right, looking at details, identifying gaps and hidden flaws. Finally, reactive catastrophic failure analysis is not the optimum…

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