The Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT)

Risk management is a critical aspect of ensuring the safety and success of any organization. The Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT) is an analytical tool that emerged from a project in the 1970s aimed at enhancing the safety standards within the U.S. Nuclear industry.

With its logical structure and generic approach, MORT has proven to be a durable and versatile method for identifying causes and contributing factors to accidents and incidents. This blog post will explore into the general approach of MORT, its application in analyzing key episodes in event sequences, and the structured dialogue it facilitates between investigators and the situation at hand.

Key Takeaways:

  • Origin: MORT, Management Oversight and Risk Tree, originated from a project in the 1970s aimed at improving safety standards in the U.S. Nuclear industry.
  • Analysis Approach: MORT is used to analyze accidents by identifying problems in control measures and protective barriers, with a focus on origins in planning, design, and policy.
  • Structured Process: The MORT process involves a dialogue between generic questions and the specific investigation, with the analyst acting as an interpreter. It requires barrier analysis and thorough documentation for effective results.

Foundations of MORT

Philosophy and Objectives

Objectives in developing the Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT) stemmed from a philosophy that safety should be an integral part of business management and operational control. The aim was to provide a comprehensive risk management program capable of ensuring high standards of health and safety, particularly in industries like the U.S. Nuclear sector. MORT evolved from a project in the 1970s, with a focus on determining causes and contributing factors to incidents and accidents.

Core Components and Structure

Core components of MORT include a logical expression of functions necessary for effective risk management within an organization. The MORT chart, a key component, serves as an evaluation tool to identify problems in work process control and deficiencies in protective barriers. This structured approach allows for a methodical analysis of incident sequences, categorizing them into vulnerable targets, harmful agents, and barriers to protection. The graphic nature of the MORT diagram aids in identifying key episodes for further investigation.

MORT Analysis Procedure

Identifying Episodes and Barriers

The first step in a MORT analysis is to identify key episodes in the sequence of events leading to an accident. Each episode involves a vulnerable target exposed to an agent of harm in the absence of adequate barriers. This process helps in pinpointing where vulnerabilities lie within the system.

Conducting Barrier Analysis

Analysis of barriers is a crucial aspect of MORT, as it allows for a focused investigation into the control of work processes and protective barriers. Barrier analysis, also known as “Energy Trace and Barrier Analysis,” helps in identifying the origins of problems in planning, design, policies, and more. It is necessary for a thorough MORT analysis.

Episodes identified through barrier analysis can then be subjected to a detailed MORT evaluation. It involves a systematic questioning sequence designed to uncover facts and issues surrounding the incident. Analysts act as interpreters between the generic questions of MORT and the specific situation being investigated.

Implementing MORT in Organizations

Integration into Risk Management

All organizations, regardless of industry, can benefit from integrating the Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT) methodology into their risk management practices. By utilizing MORT, companies can proactively identify potential risks and underlying causes of incidents before they escalate into major losses. The structured approach of MORT allows for a thorough analysis of control processes and protective barriers, leading to more effective risk mitigation strategies.

Training and Application Best Practices

An important aspect of successfully implementing MORT in organizations is providing comprehensive training to employees on how to effectively utilize the methodology. Training should focus on understanding the sequences of events, conducting barrier analysis, and following the logical questioning approach of MORT. With proper training, employees can apply MORT confidently during incident investigations, leading to a more thorough and effective risk analysis process.

With the training in place, organizations should establish best practices for the application of MORT. This includes setting clear guidelines on when to use MORT, ensuring analysts are familiar with the methodology, and emphasizing the importance of thorough documentation throughout the process. By following these best practices, organizations can maximize the benefits of MORT and enhance their risk management practices.

To wrap up

Taking this into account, The Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT) is a comprehensive and systematic approach to analyzing incidents and accidents. By focusing on identifying problems in control and protective barriers, MORT helps organizations understand the causes and contributing factors of losses. The structured nature of MORT, with its logical sequence of questions and emphasis on barrier analysis, ensures a thorough investigation process. The durability and adaptability of MORT across different industries are a testament to its effectiveness in risk management. By following the MORT structure and using it judiciously, organizations can uncover new lines of enquiry, identify causal factors, and increase confidence in the thoroughness of their investigations. MORT serves as a valuable tool for integrating safety into business management and operational control, making it an necessary part of organizational risk management strategies.

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