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Gorilla Welfare & Guerrilla Warfare (Part I)

August 7, 2017


The analogy of a tiger in a cage is commonly used to explain the principles of bowties but I prefer to tell/sell the concept as follows:

Imagine you are a zoo or a safari park and you have a captive gorilla which you charge visitors to come see. This animal can be pretty aggressive and has the potential to injure or kill many people (think of King Kong) if it escapes (a loss of containment or uncontrolled release).

You could eliminate this risk by not having a gorilla at all, you could substitute it with a panda or something less scary or dangerous. You might reduce this risk by having a smaller primate, but people may not come to visit such a tame beast or you could isolate the hazard by locating it on an island, away from the public, but they'll struggle to see it and visitors will be less inclined to come back or tell their friends.


All of these could reduce your revenue or even put you out of business, so you control the risk by having a cage, maybe even a moat and then a fence as multiple layers of protection.

Process Safety Management could be compared to how the zookeeper looks after the gorilla to protect people and preserve profit - remember the animal is an asset !

We may simplify the potential threats that could lead to a hazardous event as the 6 D's.

Has the cage been made strong enough to hold the gorilla ?
The cage may burst if you put too many gorillas in it (overfilled) or if the gorilla is agitated (overheated) !
If you don't maintain the locks or bars, they may rust and allow the gorilla to break through. Modifying the cage could also weaken it.
Not following proper procedures may result in someone leaving the door open !
Failure to control vehicle or crane movements may result in a collision or dropped object that allows the gorilla to escape.
A hacker breaks into your system and opens the cage door.


You need suitable & sufficient People & Processes to ensure safe operation by keeping the Plant (cage) intact. So consider this...

Can the Gorilla get a hand through the bars to cause harm ?
Loss of containment of hazardous materials & energies .


We need to check the cage structure, are the welds on the bars OK ?
Are all components (still) fit for purpose.


We need to be able to feed the Gorilla without coming into contact with them.
Operational support.


We need to empty the cages, make it safe for the keepers to enter and clean them out, check the hinges, bolts, water bowl and change the light bulbs.
Maintenance & modifications.


You've probably seen numerous videos of Apes going Ape, including this recent one:

This is a demand on your protection measures and should be recorded, analysed and acted upon !

But I have to show my age and share this classic which really shows what a wild gorilla is capable of:


Part II of this topic will be posted soon to continue the theme of Guerrilla Warfare:



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