Risk Assessments

Inland paddling
Chris Bolton
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Post by Chris Bolton »

James,

No problem; I was looking for feedback and hope I haven't put you off; I just wanted feedback on what I actually meant not what you'd initially understood!

Do you think the problem I've described is prevalent in your area of RA?

Thanks

Chris

Paul Smith
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Post by Paul Smith »

AliceB wrote:
I'm sorry Jerry but I have been away on a Canoe trip with school which has taken up an incredible amount of my time which means I have been off line for several days, so thanks to James Fleming for leaping to my rescue on that front!
Let me guess, your doing Tim's course?

AliceB
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Post by AliceB »

paul at work wrote:Let me guess, your doing Tim's course?
How did you guess?! Yes am doing the infamous ODA (Outdoor Activities) PGCE up here in sunny Bangor. Working at St. Davids college in Llandudno at the moment...leaving home most days at half seven and often not getting back until the same at night, or as in the case of this weekend, not at all!

Is all good fun but very hard work, as even when I'm back in my cosy flat there is still all that washing of pesky kit to do and lesson planning and evaluation....fun!

Still we had an excellent weekend canoeing dispite the cold...breaking ice at edge of water and so on. I didn't make it out of my down jacket all weekend appart from to get on the water and then it was replaced with ludicrous amounts of thermals and fleece!

AliceB
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Post by AliceB »

Right...my heads now spinning from all the imformation that I've been reading on RA!

As a school they require us to have both generic and site specific RA's for an activity. For example there is a generic white water one but also there should be an "add on" site specific RA for each section of water that we take groups down...in short, an awful lot of paper to wave.

The thing that worries me is that in effect if you write such a good risk assessment that covers all eventualities, are you making your own job as a coach harder? From what I've read it's all scary stuff and makes me want to run away and hide.

As an outdoor instructor I'm constantly risk assessing whilst out with a group but that doesn't prevent the rare unfortunate capsize and bump on the head. If that is written into the risk assessment yet the accident still occurs from what I've read that can still lead to you getting your wrists slapped (maybe not seriously, but...) even though you've taken all reasonable measures to prevent this from happening....arrrgh!

Now I can see why the BCU don't like risk assessements. Having said that there are not many places schools/centres and the like) that can opporate without them...seems like a bit of a catch 22 situation to me. Protect the school/ the instructor or the child?

Thanks to all of you who have contributed....I appologies for thinking aloud, despite the confused ramblings I have actually made progress!

Paul Smith
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Post by Paul Smith »

AliceB wrote:
paul at work wrote:Let me guess, your doing Tim's course?
How did you guess?! Yes am doing the infamous ODA (Outdoor Activities) PGCE up here in sunny Bangor.

You know its just one of those things! I did The ODA course in 2000/01, but i did it with Maths. So i went to Aberconwy and The Alun, Mold for my teaching practice. Bit of a pain in the arse as we had foot and mouth while i had the pleasure of living in North Wales.

Were you at Ogwen Cottage before St. Davids? I met Adam Harmer the other week as well, while at PYB working on the BCU student safety weekend.

It is amazing the number of people that you met / will met that have done Tim's course or are on it, particularly as there aren't that may people that do it each year.

bib_bob_euroslap
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Post by bib_bob_euroslap »

AliceB wrote:
As an outdoor instructor I'm constantly risk assessing whilst out with a group but that doesn't prevent the rare unfortunate capsize and bump on the head. If that is written into the risk assessment yet the accident still occurs from what I've read that can still lead to you getting your wrists slapped (maybe not seriously, but...) even though you've taken all reasonable measures to prevent this from happening....arrrgh!
You can never ever prevent something from happening, just do things to make it less likely and the effects less severe. Thats the purpose of risk assessments - to make sure all practicable control measures are put in place, and if the risk is still too likely to happen and/or the effects are too severe then the activity should not take place.

Put simpliy, what more can you do to stop some1 bumping their head, except wear approved and checked helmets and only take a group on waters suitable to their ability?!?! If you decide the risk of people hitting their head and causing themselves injury is still too high then you shouldnt go paddling!


Our uni's way of doing risk assessments works on giving the effect and liklihood of the risk both a rating out of 3. these are then multiplied together to give a 'risk rating' We do this before and after control measures have been put in place. if the risk rating is still too high then the activity shouldnt take place.

It makes more sense to look at it, here:
http://www.hallamunion.com/downloads/RI ... SSMENT.doc

and guidance notes:

http://www.hallamunion.com/downloads/Ri ... idance.doc

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. »

bib_bob_euroslap wrote:
AliceB wrote:
Our uni's way of doing risk assessments works on giving the effect and liklihood of the risk both a rating out of 3. these are then multiplied together to give a 'risk rating' We do this before and after control measures have been put in place. if the risk rating is still too high then the activity shouldnt take place.
In practice, this approach of multiplying a probability score and an impact score together to produce a risk score is a bit of pseudo-science which sounds the right thing to do (after all, it's mathematical) but in reality means low probability, high impact issues are not focussed in on enough.

These are the unexpected events, which are often identifiable with hindsight, and that is where the lawyers make their money in negligence claims.

It also means that high probability/low impact events are given as much focus as the low prob/high impact event. So which is most worrying 100 people with minor cuts, bruising etc or 1 person dead??

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. »

I've finally pulled my finger out of a warm place, and got my slides up on my website. Go to my website and click on the resources link and you'll find it there..

hope that's helpful - any feedback gratefully received!

Bertie..[/url]

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Adrian Cooper
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Post by Adrian Cooper »

Thanks very much Bertie! That's just the ticket.

PhilT
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Post by PhilT »

Bertie,

Like the slides. A very good explanation of a complicated subject. Working with risk assessments every day I recognised a lot of your material. You didn't happen to obtain the risk profile slide from an insurance company named after a town in Switzerland did you?

I think that one of your comments in your post could do with a bit of clarification:
It also means that high probability/low impact events are given as much focus as the low prob/high impact event. So which is most worrying 100 people with minor cuts, bruising etc or 1 person dead??
But you have to draw a boundary for very low probability events otherwise you spend a lot of time trying to mitigate a risk that will never happen. Where you draw the boundary is dependant on your attitude to risk. To give an example from my work: we never risk assess the probability and consequences of an aircraft crashing on one of our factories as the probability is so low. However, if I was risk assessing a nuclear power plant, I think that I'd have a different view as the consequences of this are pretty severe. Or to bring it back to a canoeing context, the consequences of much that could go wrong on the water is death. If we tried to totally control this risk, we'd never get on the water in the first place.

That's my two rappen's worth
Phil

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. »

Hi Phil,

small town in Switzerland?? never heard of it, why would a small town in Switzerland mean anything to someone working full-time in risk management within financial services?? ;-) You can explain the in-joke Phil...

Can't remember what the slide looks like, and for some op risk reason we don't allow downloads where I work so I can't have a look to refresh myself.

You're right in what you say, there are some risks that are very small in probability that they almost warrant not focussing in on, but hey, there's only a one in several billion chance of winning the lottery but someone always seem to win.

In terms of low probability events, I only focus on high impact ones, as you're right to point out. In kayaking terms that means death (or litigation or serious injury which can be much much worse....). You're right, there's a lot that can kill us out there, but as with many of so-called dangerous activities there's a lot of things that have to conspire against us for that to occur (except for stupidity - which is recognised through the Darwin awards each year)

As for the plane crashing into the building, you're right - I don't risk assess it, but I do risk assess the prob and impact of the loss of our HQ from what ever reason (fire being the most obvious)! Does remind me of the client I once worked for who despite being directly under the final approach to Heathrow, had built there disaster recovery suite on top of the building... hmmm

PhilT
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Post by PhilT »

small town in Switzerland?? never heard of it, why would a small town in Switzerland mean anything to someone working full-time in risk management within financial services?? ;-) You can explain the in-joke Phil...
Small town in Switzerland?? I think the inhabitants of Zurich might get a bit upset about that. For those who care, the in-joke was that the risk profile from Bertie's slide comes from Zurich Insurance. I was trying to be a bit diplomatic, in case you'd "stolen" the slide (those who know me will, by this time, be rolling around the floor at the thought of me trying to be diplomatic.)

Phil.

P.S. PM me if you want to know a local joke against Zurich. You can impress your HQ with your knowledge of Swiss humour (it does exist, honest!).

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. »

[quote="PhilT"] For those who care, the in-joke was that the risk profile from Bertie's slide comes from Zurich Insurance. I was trying to be a bit diplomatic, in case you'd "stolen" the slide (those who know me will, by this time, be rolling around the floor at the thought of me trying to be diplomatic.)
[quote]


Hi Phil, sorry - the slide didn't come from Zurich Insurance, well not that I'm directly aware of anyway. I attend a number of big conferences annually, and I guess seeing as all risk managers at financial services are working along the same lines they may have the same ideas as me and the rest of the industry. All ideas contained in my slides are my interpretation of a vast number of articles/presentations/thinktanks etc..

Nope, the small town I was refering to was Basel itself - the home of the 'Basel Committee' something I have to deal with daily.. and your home town I see.. ;-)

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