Tag: safety

LG tanker to be investigated

EC to investigate whether LG tanker poses risk

The petition questioning the anchoring of the LG tanker at Marsaxlokk has been accepted by the European Parliament and is currently being investigated, MEP Roberta Metsola announced this evening.

The project may run contrary to the provisions of the Seveso Directive, and that the impact on people’s lives, the environment, businesses, fishermen and their boats has not been properly taken into consideration by the government.

Source: Malta Independent

The Seveso Directive  is about prevention, preparedness and response and focused on protecting the environment, health and our economy.

Major industrial accidents involving dangerous chemicals pose a significant threat to humans and the environment. Furthermore such accidents cause huge economic losses and disrupt sustainable growth. However, the use of large amounts of dangerous chemicals is unavoidable in some industry sectors which are vital for a modern industrialised society. To minimise the associated risks, measures are necessary to prevent major accidents and to ensure appropriate preparedness and response should such accidents nevertheless happen. The Seveso Directive is well integrated with other EU policies, thus avoiding double regulation or other administrative burden.This includes following related policy areas:

Managing the Unexpected

Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity

Book by Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe
Review by Michael J. Novak for Office of Research, IRS

“By some estimates, executives and managers spend nearly half their time in activities related to planning: developing an organizational vision; translating that vision into a strategic plan; communicating the plan; deploying the plan via subordinate – e.g., operational, business, financial, human capital, and individual performance – plans, monitoring progress of plans; initiating corrective action when plans go off track; articulating reasons why the plans failed to achieve desired outcomes; and rewarding individuals and teams for their parts in successful execution of the plans.

But why plan? In today’s fast-paced, highly complex transformational environment, it could be argued that planning is obsolete. Because the environment is so chaotic – because the future is therefore so fraught with uncertainty – it is impossible to predict the future. And that is why some organizations have given up on planning: They see it as a waste of precious time that could be used reacting to unpredicted (unpredictable?) events.

That is the impression one might get from a first reading of the book under consideration. Weick and Sutcliffe tell us, among other things, that planning might not only be obsolete; it might be dysfunctional. Picture this: An organization has strategic plans, operational plans, annual business plans, and contingency plans – all expertly crafted, deployed, and executed – yet a series of unexpected events (Murphy’s Law in action) derail the plans and cause disaster. Weick and Sutcliffe argue that the mere fact of such extensive planning tends to detract executives’ and managers’ attention away from those aberrations that fall outside the plans. Organizational leaders may assume that these pesky little anomalies are simply random occurrences when, in fact, they are part of a larger, more insidious pattern coming into play – one that is not recognized until the damage is done.” Read more>

Nuclear Energy, Risk, and Emotions

 By Prof.dr. Sabine Roeser *

The pictures of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima are in our minds and are updated daily. People from around the world feel compassion for the Japanese, who have had to cope with a triple disaster: earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. At the moment of writing this piece, it is far from clear how the latter of this apocalyptic triad will end. In the meantime, the debate about nuclear energy has taken an unexpected turn. In the last few years, there was a growing consensus that nuclear energy would be the solution to generate energy without CO2 emissions. The probability of an accident was said to be negligible. However, now that an accident has occurred, many people wonder whether nuclear energy is a really wise option (cf., e.g., Macilwain 2011). Germany immediately shut down several nuclear reactors, and the German Green Party achieved unprecedented results in the local elections due to its anti-nuclear position.

Nevertheless, there seems to be one constant factor in the debate about nuclear energy: proponents call opponents badly informed, emotional, and irrational, using these notions more or less as synonyms. However, such rhetoric denigrates and hinders a real debate about nuclear energy. In addition, it is simply wrong to equate emotions with irrationality, as they can be a source of practical rationality. I will argue that rather than being an obstacle to a meaningful debate about nuclear energy, emotions can be an important source of ethical insight that should be taken seriously.

Often when a new technology is introduced, a typical pattern can be observed: society is alarmed and worried about its risky aspects, whereas experts assure them that the risks are negligible. Policy makers typically respond to this in two ways: either they ignore the emotions of the public or they take them as a reason to prohibit or restrict a technology, as is the case with genetic modification in many European countries. Let me call these responses the technocratic pitfall and the populist pitfall, respectively. Experts and policy makers emphasize that a dialogue with the public is impossible as it is supposedly ill-informed and so emotional about certain risks that they are immune to rational, objective, scientific information. This pattern has occurred in regard to nuclear energy, cloning, genetic modification, carbon capture and storage, and vaccination, to mention just a few of many hotly debated, controversial, technological developments. Stalemates such as these may seem unavoidable. At least as long as we take it for granted that emotions are irrational and impenetrable by rational information. However, there are developments in the psychological and philosophical study of emotions that can shed an entirely new light on these issues.  Read more >

* S. Roeser, Philosophy Department, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands & Philosophy Department, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands e-mail: S.Roeser@tudelft.nl


Uncertain safety

We live a relative safe life. But that safety is not a quiet posession. Uncertain risks as infection deseases and climate change brings us to a new challenge in physical safety policy. How we can face that challenge has been described in the report ‘Uncertain Safety’ of the Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (WRR), the Scientific Council for Government Policy. Gerard de Vries, member of the WRR, presented the report during the 2nd Dutch PRIMO Nederland Conference, last October.

Last week the Dutch government has adopted its reaction to this WRR report.The government shares the view of the WRR that uncertainties about risks must be made explicit in decisions about new technologies.

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