When one thinks of mountain operations in today’s world unfortunately risk management comes to mind at some point. The inherent nature of sliding down hill is one thing, then add the mechanism of transporting the sliders up hill, making manmade snow, grooming the snow, terrain parks, half pipes, side country, back country and normal slip and falls, the risk potentials could be over whelming.
Risk management at ski areas has evolved and at larger areas has become a department unto itself. In many organizations the risk management responsibility falls under the finance or corporate structure but in most it resides within the mountain operations sphere, in many case within the ski patrol director’s scope of responsibility. Even if the risk responsibility fall outside the mountain operation’s management sphere, it is important that all within mountain operations understands the value created by risk management.
The outline shared below from ISO is a very solid basis to review your risk management program as it exists today and what you might need to do to make it more effective. I have highlighted under principles two factors that need to be discussed and adopted at the highest level of management. Without the high level commitment whoever is managing risk management has been saddled with a no win scenario. All the principles are important for success but the two highlighted are where the conversation begins.
Your insurance company or consultants specializing in risk identification and process development can help with establishment of the context.
A unique aspect of risk management is that if all ski areas can take this skill set to the highest level all ski areas will benefit with reduced liability and worker’s comp rates. Yes accidents will happen but if the best effort is made to minimize the risk there is reward for the effort.
Principles of Risk Management
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) identifies the following principles of risk management:
Risk management should:
– Create value – resources expended to mitigate risk should be less than the consequence of inaction, or (as in value engineering), the gain should exceed the pain
– Be an integral part of organizational processes
– Be part of decision making process
– Explicitly address uncertainty and assumptions
– Be systematic and structured process
– Be based on the best available information
– Be tailor able
– Take human factors into account
– Be transparent and inclusive
– Be dynamic, iterative and responsive to change
– Be capable of continual improvement and enhancement
– Be continually or periodically re-assessed
Establishing The Context
According to the standard ISO 31000 “Risk management – Principles and guidelines on implementation,” the process of risk management consists of several steps as follows:
1. Identification of risk in a selected domain of interest
2. Planning the remainder of the process
3. Mapping out the following
4. The social scope of risk management
5. The identity and objectives of stakeholders
6. The basis upon which risks will be evaluated, constraints
7. Defining a framework for the activity and an agenda for identification
8. Developing an analysis of risks involved in the process
9. Mitigation or solution of risks using available technological, human and organizational resources