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The Dangers of Salami Slicing

November 23, 2018

I've had cause to remind myself about the dangers of “salami slicing” risk and referred colleagues to the guidance in HSE Research Report 151 ‘Good Practice and Pitfalls in Risk Assessment (http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr151.pdf)


This invaluable and timeless report summarises the pitfalls via a series of case studies which include:


  • Carrying out a risk assessment to attempt to justify a decision that has already been made

  • Using a generic assessment when a site-specific assessment is needed

  • Carrying out a detailed QRA without first considering whether any relevant good practice was applicable

  • Carrying out a detailed QRA without reference to relevant good practice

  • Carrying out a risk assessment using inappropriate good practice

  • Making decisions on the basis of individual risk estimates when societal risk is the appropriate measure

  • Only considering the risk from one activity

  • Incorrectly defining the appropriate hypothetical person - the ‘salami slicing’ approach to risk estimation

  • Not involving a team of people in the assessment/not including employees with practical knowledge of the process/activity being assessed

  • Ineffective use of consultants

  • Failure to identify all relevant modes of operation

  • Failure to consider common-cause failures

  • Failure to identify all hazards associated with a particular activity

  • Reliance on archetypal descriptions of events and behaviours without also considering the range of other possible outcomes

  • Failure to consider all possible outcomes in a cautious manner

  • Inappropriate use of generic failure data

  • Inappropriate use of historical data

  • Inappropriate use of statistical averaging

  • Inappropriate definition of a representative sample of events

  • Inappropriate use of risk criteria

  • No consideration of ALARP/further measures that could be taken

  • Inappropriate use of CBA

  • Inappropriate use of the results of a CBA

  • Reverse ALARP

  • Not doing anything with the results of the assessment

  • Not linking hazards with risk controls

Which ones do you recognise ?


Which ones concern you ?






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