Topic: 2015 Articles

Articles first published in

Certifications: The Leaning Tree Incident

By W. Kent Muhlbauer, WKM Consulting, Austin, TX, USA   An operator recently experienced damage to their pipeline when a metal pipeline marker post was driven into the ground by a falling tree – the ‘leaning tree incident’. This is certainly not a common pipeline failure scenario. How much criticism against a risk assessment is warranted if this obscure event […]

Where is the Risk Control Strategy?

In an earlier article, we noted that risk management is, in effect, often unintentionally delegated to decision-makers occupying the lower portions of the corporate org chart.  In many companies, the field personnel are essentially setting corporate risk levels via their choices in day-to-day activities and their perceptions of priorities. While we noted some advantages of […]

Measuring Failure Potential—What is Attacking? 

How Effective are Defenses?  Can it Survive? In several previous columns, we have noted the need for a very specific approach to measuring failure probability (PoF).  Three factors must be independently measured/estimated in order to fully understand PoF.  Let’s explore those factors a bit deeper here. Regardless of the definition of ‘failure’ being used, failure […]

Pipeline Risk Assessment: Threat Interaction—A Case of Confusing Terminology

As we continue this exploration of pipeline risk assessment, let’s tackle some terminology obstacles.  Pipeline risk assessment is a challenging topic on its own, so added confusion from terminology is most unwelcome. Background In some recent regulatory initiatives, a criticism has arisen regarding some pipeline operators’ failure to properly account for ‘threat interaction’ in their […]

The economics of acceptable risk

While avoiding the many nuances of ‘acceptable’ vs ‘tolerable’ risk and ‘How safe is safe enough?’ issues, let’s scratch the surface of setting, moving towards, or sustaining a target risk level. We begin with a premise that risk reduction is sought for some asset or collection of assets. We explore the risk reduction opportunities with […]

Due Diligence—Risk Costs of Asset Ownership

In this column, we occasionally highlight applications of risk assessment that are perhaps less apparent to some.  Since risk permeates almost all industrial endeavors, it is not surprising that risk understanding is or should be an essential part of many types of decision-making.  We have already covered risk assessment in incident investigation and as a […]