Bad Things

I would like to experiment with the concept of providing a forum for sharing incidents or near-misses. (These are serious errors or close calls that have the potential to cause Bad Things but fail to do so because of luck or because it was discovered just in time.)

Simply tell us about the Bad Things which have (almost) happened to your organization or those that may have happened to a friend or colleague. I submit that if we share our tales of operational risk woe it gives us a chance to make the Bad Things go away before they happen. It can be bullet points or narrative and doesn’t even need to be in English. I will drop your text in Google Translate and post it.

Here’s an example of one that I experienced:

To enter the bank’s office one had to pass through two 8-foot glass doors locked by a powerful magnet. To deactivate the magnet from the outside, employees scanned their badges on the card reader. From the inside there were two ways to unlock the door: the receptionist pushes a button behind her desk or a motion detector on the ceiling deactivates the locking mechanism when someone approached the door from that side.

One evening when maintenance staff were working in the office, an employee noticed that some of the workers were letting themselves into the office by sliding a legal size file folder through the crack between the glass doors; the action of waving the folder activated the motion detector from the inside and released the magnet, thus unlocking the door.

Once we learned of this defect we replaced the motion detector with a big, red manual unlock button on the wall which mitigated the near-miss and prevented intruders from entering.

close call phone








(Image credit: Network Rail)


So tell us about your Bad Things in the form below. (Note: When you complete the form, the comments will not appear in this post but will generate an email that goes to my Riskczar inbox only.)

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