Friday, January 11, 2013

A Discussion on RISK!

Yesterday I met with my friends at Transport Canada. It was social gathering but the topic of risk came up. Of course my opinion has always been that Risk Assessment is "voodoo." The basis for my opinion relates to my QA frame of reference. Results of an evaluation should be scientific. Risk seems to be 10% science, probability and Severity, and 90% opinion. I agree risk assessment is essential, that's why I included it my new book, Memory Jogger for SMS, but we need to make it more objective. I will discuss other tools that may accomplish the risk rating with a little more objectivity in a future post.  What are your thoughts?


  1. I agree with your comments about "Risk Assessment". They are very subjective and people tend to have already decided what the risk is before using a risk assessment matrix. They will sometimes simply manipulate the Exposure, Severity and Likelihood to get to the risk level they have already decided upon.

  2. As a Quality Assurance guy, I always had a problem with Risk Assessment. I have asked Risk professionals; tell me how risk assessment is objective? They talk about the expertise of the RA team and experience. To me it is still subjective. Now, I believe RA is absolutely essential in ALL SMS. I prefer to use tools that bring a little more objectivity into the process. As a QA guy I like the Failure Effects Mode and Analysis, FEMA, and Failure Effects Mode and Criticality Analysis, FEMCA. This tools bring in another level of consideration in the RA. In addition to probability and severity, FEMA takes into consideration “exposure.” Another excellent tool is the “Bowtie” diagram. I discuss the Bowtie diagram in another article in this blog. The bowtie diagram gives us an excellent tool to focus the RA team’s thoughts in very specific areas of the event. NOTE: both tools are explained in great detail in the new SMS Memory Jogger II available at Don’t get me wrong, Risk Assessment is essential to SMS. I just think companies should seek to make the processes as objective as possible.


When SMS Becomes Inactive

When SMS Becomes Inactive  By Catalina9 A Safety Management System (SMS) that is inactive will leave a void for an uncontrollable system to...