Ship blocked the Suez canal causing a six days business interruption

Recently the Ever Given Ship blocked the Suez canal causing a six days business interruption (BI). In the aftermath of the incident world media reported that never before a ship blocked in such a way the canal. They added “this is a black swan”, a usual preposterous statement. Many enterprises rely on third party companies for shipping goods. Approximately 10% of the global shipping volume goes through Suez Canal as the canal represent a shorter and safer route from Asia to…

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Neo-mythological risk animals

Various neo-mythological risk animals have caught the imagination of businesses and have had world-wide mediatic success. Unfortunately, sometimes even against their creators will, they generate a slanted image. Many use that image as it allows “iffy” constructs. Furthermore it offers an excuse for a classic human behavior. That is doing nothing and procrastinating. Let’s explain the point: black swans are defined by Taleb as “an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically ones with extreme consequences” however they have been used and…

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Risk Management Guideline for Engineers

The Canadian Engineering Qualifications Board (CEQB) recently published a Risk Management Guideline for engineers. This post discusses some of the concepts and draws parallels with another upcoming publication. Our general comments on Risk Management Guideline for Engineers We saw a number of good points in the Guideline, for instance: a glossary, the clear call for hazard identification, some examples, and finally and perhaps more than anything, the fact it fosters engineers’ awareness for risks. We fully empathize with the desire to generate…

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Comments on a risk assessment tool for tailings storage facilities

A colleague of ours asked for comments on a risk assessment tool for tailings storage facilities paper by Chovan et al (A risk assessment tool for tailings storage facilities ( We accepted and decided to prepare this piece. The reason is that we have seen various other attempts by reputable engineering companies to use similar methodologies leading to similar comments from our end. The application of simplified methodologies, or unproven approximations in the field of tailings dams could harm people…

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India dam break Facebook and fake news

India dam break Facebook and fake news finds its inspiration in a series of very recent events. Very unfortunately one of them, the Rishiganga dam collapse (, was mortiferous.  World-wide water storage structures are ageing A report by UNU-INWEH,  Ageing Water Storage Infrastructure: An Emerging Global Risk, provides an overview of the phenomenon. Indeed tens of thousands of existing large dams have reached 50 years of age. In addition, many others will approach 100 years. For instance, UK has the…

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The eternal confusion between tailings hazard and risks

A comment to a blogpost on tailings failures inspired this comment on the eternal confusion between tailings hazard and risks. Some voices are rising to state that the real number of tailings dams on the planet is around 35,000. Based on that number they then engage in a biased risk discourse. Indeed, we think those arguments are misleading and not helping the cause of tailings risk reduction. Let’s discuss why. The true number of tailings dams on the planet The number…

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Risk assessment and automation bias

In these days of AI, IoT and other technological developments Risk assessment and automation bias have to be discussed. The definition of Automation bias covers the propensity users have to favor suggestions from automated decision-making systems. Victims of automation bias will ignore contradictory information made without automation, even if it is correct. Automation bias is the last of a long dynasty Automation bias is heir to a dynasty of biases based on the same principle, but seemingly very different one from another,…

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Convergent risk assessments

Convergent risk assessments integrate areas that are significant to an organization, such as operational risk generated by various hazards or compliance, within a single framework. In the meantime, convergent risk assessments suppress informational siloes and therefore tend to explicitly tackle systemic interdependencies. Convergent risk assessment A convergent risk assessment looks at a silos-free system where: physical, informational geographical, and finally logical risk information converge in a single platform. Convergent risk assessments have to be holistic by definition. We discuss the definitions…

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