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Carrot Diagram...

Yesterday at church I mentioned the 'carrot diagram'. It reminded me that in my Baptist college interview, 21 years ago, I chose this model as a discussion topic for 'introduce and lead a discussion on a topic of your choice' session. As the good book says, 'nothing is wasted!'

The top, red bit of the carrot is a risk that cannot be tolerated and whatever the cost it must be reduced.  Or, to put it another way, if we 'do nothing' this is the level of risk - is it acceptable?  No it isn't, so we must do something.

The bottom, green (cyan) bit is a risk that we can all agree to live with.  In practice most risks cannot be totally eliminated but this is the area where it really isn't going to be justified to do any more to reduce the risk - it's no more than the risk we live with everyday anyway.

The middle, orange/amber bit is where we are at the moment in relation to corona virus - but please hear me, the risk is NOT tolerable unless/until we have put in place all reasonable measures to reduce it.  What the carrot says, effectively, is the closer it is to red, the more that needs to be, and is justified to be, done to reduce the risk.  As we get closer to the green area, what looks like proportionate effort may well be less.

Simplistic example...

People need to cross a busy road with a 70 mph speed limit.

Do nothing, leave it to people to judge when it's safe - unacceptable, must do something

Options... build a footbridge, dig an underpass, install a pedestrian crossing... all should reduce the risk, some are dearer than others, all introduce other risks (e.g. people dropping stones from footbridge). 

There may not one 'right' solution, someone has to make a call (usually based on financial considerations) as to what is a 'good enough' option.

Back in the day I did risk assessments for two notionally identical power stations.  The utilities made different choices about some operating practices; it wasn't one right, one wrong, it was two justified but different options.  So it's tricky - and we can never go back and repeat the events with a different set of choices.

Please pray for the people who are making tough decisions about how best to manage an incredibly complicated situation - they are people too, and may well have sleepless nights as they do there job (I certainly did back in the day).

For the record, Torness & Heysham 2, and Hunterston B operated safely on my watch!! And there were times when I said 'no' to my customer...


PS - washing your hands with soap and water is cheap and effective in reducing risk... so do it!

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