Decisions, Risks and Barriers
Barriers and risk are related concepts so, in a sense, the decisions made by operational managers are consistent with the overall risk management strategy in each organization. Barriers can impact either or both of these parts of the risk equation in order to reduce or eliminate risk. The barriers approach is also an effective way of integrating compliance with rules with the operational managers' own expertise and judgement. The operational managers at the nuclear power station showed the most sensitivity towards changes in the status of safety barriers and hence the most conservative attitude. Operational managers at the chemical plant seemed to base their safety judgements in particular cases on potential or actual loss of safety barriers. The barriers approach is practical and links directly to physical plant equipment and actions in the field. This may also explain why it is preferred over risk assessment as a decision-making frame.