Risk Insider: George Browne

Good Risk Housekeeping

By: | April 10, 2017 • 3 min read
George Browne, CFPS, has a B.S. in Fire Protection. He is Manager of Training Services for Global Risk Consultants. He manages fire protection services, and develops and delivers training programs for clients on an individual basis. He can be reached at [email protected]

When you hear the word housekeeping, what do you think of? Do the words attractive, neatly organized and clean come to mind?

At an office or retail property, where your operations are visible to the public, you want the facility to be welcoming and pleasing to the eye. Even facilities that the public does not enter benefit from a well-maintained exterior. While housekeeping can create a good impression, in risk management, there is much more to housekeeping than aesthetics and just making things look nice.

Good loss prevention housekeeping means paying attention to the details that can prevent a fire or, in the event of a fire, minimizing its impact.

Think about what you typically see in your facilities. There could be fuels, including wood, paper, plastic, other combustibles, or maybe flammable liquids of some type. When you recognize these fuels, you must identify why they are there, look at how they are stored or used, and recognize their value.

Packaging materials such as wood, paper or plastics might be used to package your products – in this case, these materials are valuable -, or were they used to ship raw materials to your facility, which would then be considered trash.

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It is vital that you control what you allow in your building and remove what does not need to be there. For those materials (i.e. fuels) that must be in your building, consider how much you need at any given time. Is it possible to limit the quantity to what is needed for one shift or production run?

Look at all of your storage areas, including production areas, warehousing, stockrooms and all closets and rooms used for storage. These areas should be well organized and arranged to prevent the spread of fire; that includes keeping storage out of aisles.

Establishing and enforcing a standard for good loss control housekeeping can also affect the internal culture of your organization. Standards provide people with an expectation of what needs to be done.

Vigilence also includes maintaining storage types and heights so that a fire does not overwhelm the sprinkler system. Rack storage needs to be arranged with flue spaces between back-to-back racks and between the storage in the racks. These flue spaces allow heat to activate the closest sprinklers while allowing sprinkler water to penetrate the racks and control the fire.

Good housekeeping has other benefits, as well. Keeping machinery and equipment clean can prevent overheating that can cause premature failure or provide an ignition source to nearby combustibles.

Maintaining aisles and storage areas clean and free of excess materials provides clear paths for the movement of people and products. Eliminating dust, dirt, debris, or other contaminants in the area can also improve quality control.

Establishing and enforcing a standard for good loss control housekeeping can also affect the internal culture of your organization. Standards provide people with an expectation of what needs to be done. When people are able to meet expectations, they take pride in what they’ve accomplished, and it becomes the norm.

The obvious impact of good housekeeping is a neat, orderly, and well-organized space. The not- so-obvious risk control benefit is that you and your employees are reducing the potential for fires and equipment failures and improving quality by applying a standard that delivers those benefits. That should make a good impression on everyone.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

As a professor of business, Jack Hampton knows firsthand the positive impact education has on risk managers as they tackle growing risks.
By: | April 9, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

Ellen Thrower, president (retired), The College of Insurance, introduced me to the importance of insurance as a component of risk management. Further, she encouraged me to explore strategic and operational risk as foundation topics shaping the role of the modern risk manager.

Chris Mandel, former president of RIMS and Risk Manager of the Year, introduced me to the emerging area of enterprise risk management. He helped me recognize the need to align hazard, strategic, operational and financial risk into a single framework. He gave me the perspective of ERM in a high-tech environment, using USAA as a model program that later won an excellence award for innovation.

Bob Morrell, founder and former CEO of Riskonnect, showed me how technology could be applied to solving serious risk management and governance problems. He created a platform that made some of my ideas practical and extended them into a highly-successful enterprise that served risk and governance management needs of major corporations.

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?

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From a background in corporate finance and commercial banking, I accepted the position of provost of The College of Insurance. Recognizing my limited prior knowledge in the field, I became a student of insurance and risk management leading to authorship of books on hazard and financial risk. This led to industry consulting, as well as to the development of graduate-level courses and concentrations in MBA programs.

R&I: What was your first job?

The provost position was the first job I had in the industry, after serving as dean of the Seton Hall University School of Business and founding The Princeton Consulting Group. Earlier positions were in business development with Marine Transport Lines, consulting in commercial banking and college professorships.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Creating a risk management concentration in the MBA program at Saint Peter’s, co-founding the Russian Risk Management Society (RUSRISK), and writing “Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management” and the “AMA Handbook of Financial Risk Management.”

A few years ago, I expanded into risk management in higher education. From 2017 into 2018, Rowman and Littlefield published my four books that address risks facing colleges and universities, professors, students and parents.

Jack Hampton, Professor of Business, St. Peter’s University

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

The Godfather. I see it as a story of managing risk, even as the behavior of its leading characters create risk for others.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Jameson’s Irish whiskey. Mixed with a little ice, it is a serious rival for Johnny Walker Gold scotch and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Mount Etna, Taormina, and Agrigento, Sicily. I actually supervised an MBA program in Siracusa and learned about risk from a new perspective.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

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Army Airborne training and jumping out of an airplane. Fortunately, I never had to do it in combat even though I served in Vietnam.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

George C. Marshall, one of the most decorated military leaders in American history, architect of the economic recovery program for Europe after World War II, and recipient of the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize. For Marshall, it was not just about winning the war. It was also about winning the peace.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

Sharing lessons with colleagues and students by writing, publishing and teaching. A professor with a knowledge of risk management does not only share lessons. The professor is also a student when MBA candidates talk about the risks they manage every day.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

Sensitizing for-profit, nonprofit and governmental agencies to the exposures and complexities facing their organizations. Sometimes we focus too much on strategies that sound good but do not withstand closer examination. Risk managers help organizations make better decisions.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

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Developing executive training programs to help risk managers assume C-suite positions in organizations. Insurance may be a good place to start but so is an MBA degree. The Risk and Insurance Management Society recognizes the importance of a wide range of risk knowledge. Colleges and universities need to catch up with RIMS.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber risk and its impact on hazard, operational and financial strategies. A terrorist can take down a building. A cyber-criminal can take down much more.

R&I: What does your family think you do?

My family members think I’m a professor. They do not seem to be too interested in my views on risk management.




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]