Managing Crisis and Risk

Managing Crisis and Risk



In the management of risks and crisis in different organizations, there are three pertinent issues that are addressed. These issues are organizational accidents, critical incidents and risk management itself. Organizational accidents are perilous occurrences which threaten the organization by either directly affecting the organization or the organization’s key operations. Critical incidents are the happenings that are crucial for an organization to deliver on its goals whether it is the provision of goods or services. In the absence of these events, the organization will be unable to deliver on what is expected by its customers. Organizational accidents normally affect the critical incidents or occur at the stage of critical incidents (Class notes; Lauren, 2009).

Error Chains and the Swiss Cheese Theory

One explanation that has been given to the occurrence of organizational accidents is error chains. Error chains are a number of mistakes that result in accidents taking place. These mistakes may or may not necessarily be related but still have a lot of bearing on the chances of an organizational accident actually happening. A theory that best explains the application of error chains in risk management is known as Swiss Cheese Theory. This theory suggests that for a risk to occur, several unfortunate events need to go through loopholes that align hence giving the accident an unobstructed course. The loopholes are represented by the holes found in Swiss Cheese. If any one of them gets blocked, the risk is thwarted midway hence avoidance of an accident. Below is a diagram demonstrating how the Swiss cheese model is applied to risk analysis (Patient Safety, 2009 ).

An example of a critical incident is the action of a train stopping at the right station or in an emergency. This is highly dependent on the driver being alert as well as the train’s brakes functioning. If one or both of these actions fail, it is likely that the railway company will have an organizational accident. Risk management is therefore the diligent plans by an organization to handle such as situation. It is at times also termed as damage control and it is usually a detailed step by step action plan that is geared at arresting the situation.

Overview of Heathrow Express

This is a railway company that provides transportation of passengers between Heathrow airport and London. The company’s mission statement is “At Heathrow Express our first priority is to get our passengers to their destination safely and on time.” The company is private and hence holds assets such as the trains and the station in London.  In a day, the train conducts 150 transfers and in so doing, ferries a total of 16000 passengers daily. Of their market segment, 69% are business travelers while 31% are from the Leisure community. In 2011, this company was named as the “Best Rail Operator” by the Business Travel Awards (Heathrow Express, 2013).

An example of a disaster situation is the Selby train accident that took place in 2001.A driver who had a long drive ahead of him spent the better part of his night on an online chat room. From here, he continued with his journey and unfortunately fell asleep. When he did so, the car veered off the road and crashed onto the railway line. Upon realizing what had happened, he disembarked from the vehicle to contact emergency services. Just as he was doing so, a train same and crashed into the stranded car and this resulted in the death of 10 people among them train crew, both drivers and some passengers. One of the railway employees who was injured commented that he was sad they failed to convince the authorities to construct and install road  barriers at the railway intersection (Wainwright, 2011).




Class notes issued in PowerPoint week 1 and Week 2

Heathrow Express (2013) Facts and Figures on Heathrow Express. Retrieved from  on March 5, 2013

Patient Safety (2009) Anatomy of an Error-Swiss Cheese Model. Retrieved from  on March 1, 2013


Wainwright, M. (2011) Selby Rail Crash Motorist blames Fate.  The Guardian Retrieved from  on March 5, 2013


Lauren, L. (2009) Major causes of train accidents. Retrieved from  on March 1, 2013



Use the order calculator below and get started! Contact our live support team for any assistance or inquiry.