Landslides consequences of accidents are multidimensional

Recent research results confirm a point we have pushed forward for many years. Landslides consequences of accidents are multidimensional and risk assessments should consider all the pertinent dimensions, such as for example: loss of life, financial losses, and finally, environmental and other impacts. Indeed, Strouth and McDougall recent Historical Landslide Fatalities in British Columbia, Canada: Trends and Implications for Risk Management, precisely proves the point plus a number of other interesting considerations. A review of British Columbia landslide fatalities The…

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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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Uncertainties in risk assessments

Uncertainties in risk assessments derive from data, model and system uncertainties. In addition, these mix with soft issues like language and cultural barriers. There are for example languages where the term “risk” simply does not exist, like in Japanese. The closest word Japanese have in their language is 危険 (kiken). It means danger, risk, hazard, peril, jeopardy, pitfall all in one. Thus it fails to grasp the specific concept of risk and generates confusion. This is the reason they had…

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Demands for Zero Risk

Oftentimes when explaining risks to Management or the public “Demands for Zero Risk” objection arise. Repeatedly, stakeholders may point out that any “non zero” risk is unacceptable. Indeed, in the aftermath of any recent accident (Samarco, Cadia, Mount Polley) public opinion, regulators, law enforcement agencies and the media vehemently embrace that vision. However, the first reaction should be to declare that goal  as not realistic as any endeavor has intrinsic risks. Indeed, we are exposed to hazards and resulting risks…

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Limit of credibility in risk assessments

Many users invoke Limit of credibility in risk assessments but rarely discuss what this means. It is possible to establish limits on the credibility of probabilities estimates based upon the limits of human capabilities and the limits of historical evidence? Limit of credibility in risk assessments, what do we really mean? Let’s start with a couple statements that may sound like a joke. …and there was light The Big Bang universe creation occurred 1010 years ago, meaning the “history of…

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Data in probabilities assessment

Data in probabilities assessment constitute an everyday conundrum. The key question is what constitutes essential (understood as basic, indispensable) and ideal (understood as “perfect”) data set. There is no “simple” answer to that question. Consider that we often deal with prototypes or new facilities before commissioning. Past performances may not reflect future behavior because of system or climatic changes. Indeed, any internal or external change to the system has the potential to prove assumptions wrong. In particular, that past experiences…

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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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Johari window application in risk management

Johari window application in risk management is an exploration of possible corporate application of a therapeutic tool. The psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham developed the tool back in 1955. The Johari window became world-renown when US Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld quoted parts of it. You probably remember the known unknowns and the unknowns you do not know you don’t know in an “intelligence” talk. The Johari window and its original meaning The Johari window is a four squares graph…

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