CEE 2015 Risk Management Symposium: Organizational Issues and System Failures

Factors that Compromise Critical Infrastructure Risk Management

Risk Management in Transportation: A Perspective from the NTSB

Honorable Robert L. Sumwalt
National Transportation Safety Board
Board Member
Washington, D.C.

The National Transportation Safety Board has investigated several transportation accidents where inadequate risk management was a factor. Whether it involved poor (or no) preflight risk assessment before beginning a flight, or more formal management of risks of a pipeline system, this discussion will center on transportation accidents and will illustrate how basic risk management could have changed the outcome. PG&E's 2010 gas pipeline explosion at San Bruno gas will be discussed in the context of revealing how proper risk management could have detected the deadly flaw in pipeline construction.

Fontenelle Dam, Ririe Dam and the Teton Dam
An Examination of Organizational Culture on Decision Making

Mr. Nathan J. Snorteland
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Director, Risk Management Center / Institute for Water Resources
Denver, CO

Fontenelle Dam, near Fontenelle, Wyoming, built by the Bureau of Reclamation between 1960 and 1964, had a serious incident in 1965 that nearly caused a breach of the structure that could have released more than 300,000 acre-feet of water. Teton Dam, near Rexburg, Idaho, built by the Bureau of Reclamation between 1972 and 1976, failed in 1976 releasing more than 250,000 acre-feet of water and causing 11 fatalities. Ririe Dam, also near Rexburg Idaho, was built in geologic conditions similar to Teton by the Walla Walla District of the Corps of Engineers between 1970 and 1976 – was subsequently transferred to Reclamation – and has performed well over its life. The dams are all located within 150 miles of each other. The story of why Teton Dam failed is more complex than the technical details surrounding its construction and destruction. The Teton disaster is a story of engineering judgment, communication, decision-making, economics, organization, culture, and individual and organizational hubris. To tell this story, one needs to examine the organizational cultures influencing the design and construction of these structures. The focus of this story will be primarily to highlight the differences and similarities between the design, construction, and organizational decision-making at Ririe Dam and Teton Dam and briefly examine the influence that the incident at Fontenelle had on both structures.

Symposium Details

Speaker Bios

Date/Time and Location Information:

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 3:15pm
Stanford University
Building/Room: Y2E2, Room 111
(Parking is available across the street)

Reception to Follow - All Are Welcome.

Stanford Website and Visitor Information

Stanford Area Map

Last modified Wed, 31 May, 2017 at 12:42