I just read a great article in the May issue of IEEE Spectrum magazine called “Managing Risk and Responsibility During a Crisis.” The author Robert N. Charette says “If the American people desire the federal government to be their risk manager of first resort, then an open and honest discussion needs to take place about what its risk management priorities should be and allocate tax dollars to address the identified priorities.”
The same careful evaluation of risk management priorities and costs must be done in corporations. Fortunately, we have an excellent framework in the IEC 61511 standard for establishing risk priorities and most corporations do allocate the resources to address those priorities. Should we teach the government about event trees, LOPA, and quantitative risk management? I am so thankful that no government rarely takes on the role of “risk manager of the first resort” in our industry. I do not see evidence that the response to COVID-19 pandemic is the result of careful assessment of the competing risks.