Management System Success is Management Success


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[1] Risk Management, Safety and Control of Loss - Protecting Your Organization

[2] Making Your Future - In Business and in Other Parts of Life 



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Risk Identification - knowing what future problems are

Risk Identification - which is (potential) problem identification - is the first step to control (potential) loss.

I will not go into much detail here, I am not a risk specialist and apart from that, the techniques and tools to use depend greatly on the specific situation and processes of your organization.   

There are many techniques and tools that will you may want to use as part of risk identification and you may want to use one or several depending on the type of industry in which you are working.

To mention a few techniques/tools:

  • Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies
  • Preliminary Hazard Analysis (PHA)
  • Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA)
  • Event or Fault Tree Analysis (ETA or FTA)
  • Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT) and related documents  (see Risk Management Resources)

There are other methods that are more part of general operations, such as:

Task Risk Analysis

Task Risk Analysis, also called Critical Task Analysis (CTA) is a technique that is quite general and can be used on operational jobs as well as non-operational, technical as well as non-technical. The technique is basically what is known as Job Safety Analysis (JSA). In practice, however, JSA is often limited to safety related risks only. Which is an opportunity missed because, if you go through the process, you may as well look at other risks as well.

TRA is more than analysis only as is shown further down the page; the actual analysis is one of the first steps in a sequence to deal with task related risks.

A good starting point may be to list all functions in your organization, operational as well as non-operational, supervision, management, staff personnel

  • List all functions
  • Break  functions down into their tasks
  • Identify critical tasks - use risk classification

A simple list of potentially critical operational task may help to identify and qualify risks:  

 Working on/in/under/over/above/with

 Moving equipment


 Enclosed space
 Open flame
 Water or other liquids
 Extreme temperatures
 High value equipment
 High voltage installations
 Heavy equipment
 Transportation equipment
 Hoisting/lifting equipment
 Production critical equipment
 Flammable materials, liquids, gases
 Quality critical processes
 Equipment under vacuum
 Equipment under high pressure
 Environmentally unfriendly conditions

- Add to list as appropriate -

Attached risk identification checklist comes from the book "The Property Damage Accident" by Frank E. Bird, Jr and George L. Germain and may also be a good start of risk identification and is more extensive.

Task Risk Analysis is a general good method to identify risk as it focuses on the work that needs to be done and by doing so main risk related aspects would be consider, such as products involved, tools and installations and conditions under which tasks are to be carried out, normally as well as in other situations.

TRA is more than analysis. The Task Risk Analysis process involves the following steps:

  • listing of all functions in the organization
  • determination of tasks per function
  • identification of risks involved when executing tasks
  • determination of main steps of critical task
    • possible elimination of risk
    • risk reduction measures
    • control measures often leading to task or work procedures 
  • training of people using proper work procedures, including performance observation
  • periodic observation or discussion of the execution of critical tasks
  • feedback from accidents, incidents and other unwanted events  

The last two points are important to improve work procedures including adaptation necessary because of introduction of new tools, changes in the working environment, etc.  

Risk Identification - keep on doing

Risk identification is seldom 100% complete. The process needs to be further completed by:

  • repeat the process of risk identification
    • using different tools to carry out the risk identification
    • have risks identification carried out by different people


NEXT PAGE is Risk Classification

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