Major Hazards typically is associated with Major Risks, i.e. the combination of the potential of an event to occur and its likely consequence is considered to entail risk at a level which is above tolerable limits. Some risks, however, are so significant that the occurrence of these events can be catastrophic to the organisation, such as multiple losses of life, the loss of a key production unit or the total loss of profit. These risks are termed Catastrophic Risks. CCM is a priority methodology in managing these risks.
Catastrophic risks typically occur in one of two instances:
- Low frequency of occurrence, extremely high consequence. These events occur only once in 10 years or more, but if they should occur, a single event can significantly place at risk the existence of the operation or organisation. These catastrophic risk are inherent to the operation or organisation and will have to be managed into perpetuity, as long as the operation is active.
- Higher frequency of occurrence, high consequence. These events occur typically a few times a year to once in a few years. A single event is not catastrophic to the operation or organisation, but the culmination of a number of events may very well be, especially from a perception, legal or financial perspective. As such, these events are residual in nature and reflects a inefficiencies in the applied risk management system. If the risk management is improved, these risks will eventually disappear from the radar.