Naming a Risk

Transcript:

In this session what I want to talk about, is how we actually name a risk.

And, it’s really interesting because many of the organisations I go into, when I look at their risk registers, what I find is a whole lot of causes in particular but some consequences as well that are being framed as risks and that makes it really, really difficult for you to actually treat the risk or to discover what you need to do about it.

I’ll give you an example; let’s say we’ve got in our risk register a lack of maintenance, with the result that we might have an air crash.

The lack of maintenance is actually a cause or one of the contributing causes to the aircraft crash. So when you see and when I see in risk registers, things like lack of staff, lack of policies and  procedures, lack of application of the policies and procedures. All of those things are causes.

It’s a really fundamental thing we need to understand that if we are looking at something that has happened and we do a post event analysis on it, we look at it as an event. We look at it as an incident, and we ask the question, what happened? Why did it happen? Could we of done anything to avoid it in the first place? And what can we do to avoid it happening again?

We are actually deconstructing this as an event, and yet in our risk register we have things like lack of staff, lack of maintenance, and those sorts of things.

So if you have in your risk register, and I ask you perhaps go and have a look, things like; lack of, ineffective, inefficient, poor, all of those actually point towards what you have in your risk register being a cause.

What you want to focus on is an event. What is the event that happens? Car accident, plane crash, part of your facility blows up, all of those things. They are events. And then we break down what would cause it to occur, what would the consequences be and then what would we do about it after we’ve looked at the controls as well as we’ve discussed in the previous video, so remember causes are not risks, events are risks.

As always let’s be careful out there.

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