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.