Bay of Biscay, Bery Very RISK aay!

My Merchant Navy friends always fear “Bay of Biscay” as one of the very high risk area in their sea faring experience!!! call it Bay of Biscay-Bery Bery Riskaay! (Accent!!) 

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I did not want to get in to TECHNICAL Safety topic in my BLOG! I wanted to keep this to generic ESH aspects as well as people focus. But can’t help! 

Over the past 5 years, in my ESH consultancy, in the 10s of sites I have visited for Assessments, Training, consultations, I repeat not one person, yes not one person at those facilities, (Including 90% of EHS professionals) have managed to answer my following Question? 
1) “What is Hazard? What is Risk” What is the Difference” !!!!And 90% are OHSAS 18001 certified facilities on paper, to add insult to Injury!!!  

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2) I am also puzzled  to see Inconsistencies in Severity ratings!! For example falls and Electric Shock would always lead to a Fatal Situations as maximum potential scenario in severity!! People rate them as fatal in severity and while other situations they rate such harm as a First Aid Injury.  


3) Risk Rankings never done to identify top 10 issues or potentials and establishing Site Risk Portfolios and acting on them.

Risk Likelihood Table

3) Heirarchy of controls to mitigate risk not applied. Always folks resort to Procedure or PPE! Engineering options not even considered as a possibility. 

HierarchyTriangle4) There is no tie up /connect of Risk assessment to established Operational control Procedure! 95% of folks have no clue to the linkage that procedures are output to Risk Assessment. Procedures as one of the tool in Heirarchy of controls! The procedure reference is also never mentioned in Risk Registers as to how the risk was mitigated.

5) Risk Register is a live document, it is updated as and when changes happen to activity or change in legislations. At a minimum a review is done annually to bring the register up to speed and through calibration once in Three years to make it current.  (Courtesy maxresdefault

6) Many sites still sticking to 2 by 2 Matrix!! (Probability, Severity) this clogs the risk spectrum! The best practice these days are Probability*Severity* Frequency*% people exposed*Level of legal compliance. ( all rated from 1 to 5) so that max risk is 5*5*5*5*5=3125 thus you can focus on your risk mitigation efforts. 


7) Whenever I ask folks how many of Shopfloor employees / workmen participated in working the risk assessment, the answer is practically next to Zero. Risk assessment are mainly done to keep people in the action safe!! We dont seek their inputs???? 


8) Risk assessment not tied to establishing Objectives, Targets, Management plans more so with focus now on ISO 9001, 14001 and upcoming 45001 all focused on risk based approach to Business. 

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Hope folks can learn and take risk assessment to next level!! I recollect Doing Risk portfolio in 1992 for my facility, good Seven years before OHSAS 18001 even introduced! That helped us to have peace and focus on key issues knowing the expect the unexpected is just 1% probability.

Good Luck and God Bless!

20/4/17 1610 Hrs.



Author: Karthik B; Orion Transcenders. Bangalore.

Lives in Bangalore. HESS Professional of 30+ yrs experience. Global Exposure in 4 continents of over 22 years in implementation of Health, Environment, Safety, Sustainability. First batch of Environmental Engineers from 1985 Batch. Qualified for implementing Lean, 6Sigma, HR best practices integrating them in to HESS as value add to business.

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