The purpose of risk assessment

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Risk Assessment

I’m often asked what seems like a pretty simple question: “Why do we need to do a risk assessment?” There are a lot of good reasons to do risk assessments, but ultimately, the purpose of risk assessment is best summed up in this quotation:

“Risk assessments, except in the simplest of circumstances, are not designed for making judgements, but to illuminate them.”

Richard Wilson and E. A. C. Crouch, Science, Volume 236, 1987, pp.267

Manufacturing Automation Roundtable

I had the great pleasure today of participating in a round table discussion that was held by Manufacturing Automation magazine at their headquarters in Aurora, Ontario.

Around the table were: Elizabeth Rankin – CSA, Wayne De L’Orme – Ontario Ministry of Labour, Dave Lawson – Advanced Motion & Controls, Jeff Mathyssen – Electro-Mag, Rick Sauer – Festo, Dan Fournier – Omron and Lisa Bolton – Sherrard Kuzz LLP.

The depth and breadth of the expertise was refreshing, and the discussion that ranged from standards and harmonization to the practice of safety, workplace OHS  and education of engineers and users was stimulating.

CLB Media is planning to have a video of the discussions available on their web site, as well as an article in the magazine and on the web site.

For more information, contact Mary Del Ciancio at CLB Media.

Watch for the article in Manufacturing Automation in their Nov/Dec issue!

The “Inconceivable” Consequences of Failure

A colleague of mine pointed me to this interesting article by Donald Christiansen that was published in the August edition of IEEE USA’s Today’s Engineer magazine.
As engineers designing equipment, we normally conduct some form of risk assessment. Although many companies are still using informal and undocumented methods, methodical, documented risk assessments are becoming the norm in industry.

Since understanding the risk related to our designs is fundamental

A colleague of mine pointed me to this interesting article by Donald Christiansen that was published in the August edition of IEEE USA’s Today’s Engineer magazine.
As engineers designing equipment, we normally conduct some form of risk assessment. Although many companies are still using informal and undocumented methods, methodical, documented risk assessments are becoming the norm in industry.

Since understanding the risk related to our designs is fundamental to preventing those risks from occurring, why do we continue to see failures with catastrophic results occur, and why do people in the business seem to have the information necessary to recognize a problem, and then subsequently fail to do what is needed to prevent future occurrences?

Check out Christansen’s article to get an idea…

IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer.