Corporate risk and responsibility

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03/22/2011

I had an interesting conversation this morning with a consultant named Dan O’Neill, president and CEO of Applied Risk Management, which has offices in Stoneham, Mass., and in the DC area as well. His specialty is in risk assessment and policy and procedure development. And, he said he works across all verticals but targets airports, colleges and universities, hospitals, power companies and major corporations.

We were talking about the tragedy in Japan and I asked him if any of his clients were thinking anew about how a possible power plant disaster might affect their business, and he said, yes.

This is something our sister publication, Security Director News, wrote about last week. Leischen spoke to Dan Weiss, a partner in McGann Global, and former CEO of Infrastruct, about the tragedy in Japan and business continuity planning in North America.

Dan Weiss said that it's always important for businesses to plan for worst case scenario. O’Neill said he was contacted by a corporate client who asked him to reassess the client’s emergency response plan’s suitability in the event of a nuclear meltdown at nuclear plants.

He said it’s interesting topic to re “Of course we look at the building and the building envelope and what to do with the security systems, O’Neill said. But decisions decisions also need to be made about the company’s corporate responsibility. Who, for example, should a corporation evacuate in an emergency. “They have a responsibility to protect the employees, but those employees also have families and pets and mothers and fathers...”

O’Neill pointed out that the probability of nuclear power plant disaster, along the lines of what’s happening in Japan, and affecting other businesses, is very, very low. It’s not the kind of scenario businesses generally think about, but worse case scenario is clearly important to think about.

Comments

I work for Schneider Electric, a global security integrator, and have worked with Dan and the folks at ARM quite a few times. They are consistently proving to be thought leaders on important issues both nationally and globally. The nuclear plant tragedies going on in Japan right now have obviously given Dan a good reason to reflect on how policies, procedures, and best practices can be improved to mitigate harm to employees and infrastructure.

Similarly, Dan O'Neill and Roger Rueda (also of ARM), were key-note speakers at an Intelligent Buildings seminar I hosted in 2009 sponsored by Schneider Electric. The general idea behind the seminar was to educate architects, consultants, and general contractors on the importance of involving security early in the process of any "Green" or "LEED" (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) project so that specific design elements important to security can be incorporated into the overall green plan. For example, instead of steel bollards or concrete walls, well-placed grass berms topped with trees can add to the beauty of an office building while creating an environmentally sustainable security perimeter that helps reduce the risk of a vehicle going through the lobby or setting up next to a structural pilon with a bomb.

In my opinion it is ideas like this that make the security industry interesting and fun to be a part of.

Douglas Early - 617 512 8263 - douglas.early@buildings.schneider-electric.com