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Operational Risk Management: A Case Study Approach to Effective Planning and Response


What's the best thing you can do for your business? Be ready for anything.

Operational Risk Management offers peace of mind to business and government leaders who want their organizations to be ready for any contingency, no matter how extreme. This invaluable book is designed to be used as both a preparatory resource for when times are good and an emergency reference when times are bad. Author Mark Abkowitz gets managers up to speed on what they should be prepared to deal with and offers real solutions for putting those business continuity plans in place. From natural and man-made disasters to terrorist attacks, Operational Risk Management is destined to become every risk manager's ultimate weapon to help their organization survive — no matter what.

Praise for Operational Risk Management

"Mark Abkowitz has produced an excellent and wide-ranging collection of case studies that illustrate the role that risk factors play in determining the success or failure of anything designed. In Operational Risk Management, he not only analyzes the causes of failure but also indicates how proactive risk management can lead to success. This is a very well-written and instructive book."
—Henry Petroski, Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University

"As one of the nation's largest domestic marine transport companies, moving hazardous cargo daily on our nation's waterways, we relentlessly pursue risk reduction through the lessons provided by real-world experiences. Mark Abkowitz's insightful analysis of recent disasters and his identification of risk factors common to them will help anyone concerned with incident prevention and consequence mitigation."
—Dr. Craig E. Philip, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ingram Barge Company

"A wise man once said, 'The mistakes we make are a result of the history we haven't read.' History is the treasure of evidence, whether it is about the risks we face as human beings or the mysteries of the universe. This book adds to the treasure of evidence and succinctly articulates, with distinction and clarity, the factors and actions most important to managing the risks we humans face."
—B. John Garrick, PhD, PE

"Dr. Abkowitz's masterful blend of great storytelling with astute professional risk assessment provides a fabulous tool for Joe Q. Public, public policy experts, and industrial risk managers to use together to make real headway on more intelligent risk management for all of us."
—Jim Vines, Environmental, Health & Safety Specialist, King & Spalding

"Through his case studies and analysis, Mark Abkowitz identifies key factors critical to understanding how we move towards more resilient communities. His focus on a more inclusive, all-hazards approach begins to point the way. A very useful collection indeed."
—Michael T. Lesnick, PhD, cofounder and Senior Partner, Meridian Institute

Mark D. Abkowitz is former chair-man of Visual Risk Technologies, a risk management consulting firm. He is also a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Abkowitz has served as chair of several national and international technical and advisory committees and currently holds a White House appointment as a member of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. He is the recipient of the 1996 Distinguished Services Award from the National Academy of Sciences for his leadership role with the Transportation Research Board. He has written numerous articles and spoken at a variety of conferences on the subject of operational risk management, in addition to appearing on NPR, Fox News, and CNBC.

Chapter 1. Why Do Disasters Happen?

Part One. Man-Made Accidents.

Chapter 2. Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse.

Chapter 3. Nightmare in Bhopal.

Chapter 4. Meltdown at Chernobyl.

Chapter 5. Exxon Valdez.

Chapter 6. Challenger and Columbia: Déjà Vu.

Part Two. Terrorist Acts.

Chapter 7. Oklahoma City Bombing.

Chapter 8. Aum Shinrikyo:Terror in Japan.

Chapter 9. Attack on the USS Cole.

Chapter 10. September 11: World Trade Center.

Chapter 11. London1 Transit Bombings.

Part Three. Natural Disasters.

Chapter 12. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Chapter 13. Eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Chapter 14. South Canyon Fire.

Chapter 15. Sumatra-Andaman Tsunami.

Chapter 16. Hurricane Katrina.

Part Four. Success Stories.

Chapter 17. United Airlines Flight 232.

Chapter 18. Alaska Pipeline and Denali Quake.

Chapter 19. Lessons Learned.