OHS Risks Stand Out in BCI 2019 Horizon Scan

"It is easy for leaders to be kept awake at night by high-profile risks such as cyber-attacks, technology disruptions, and IT outages, but they must not ignore the smaller, more frequent risks that steadily erode the bottom line," said Howard Kerr, the British Standards Institution's chief executive.

Health and safety incidents have become the leading financial loss drivers for businesses around the world, but organizations tend to focus mainly on high-impact risks such as cyber attacks, IT outages, and extreme weather events, outages underrate impact of more frequent events, according to the BCI 2019 Horizon Scan published Feb. 14 by the Business Continuity Institute and the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The report analyzes the risks and threats recognized by 569 organizations worldwide, comparing them against the impact of actual disruptions in the past year. This is the eighth report in the series; the 2019 Horizon Scan reveals a significant gap between perceived risks and actual issues from the past 12 months. Some of the threats perceived to be low risk are being underrated when looking toward future resilience.

The partner organizations reported that the clearest example of this is occupational health and safety risks: The 2019 Horizon Scan totaled up the costs for surveyed organizations that suffered losses of more than 7 percent of annual turnover and found that OHS incidents cost $1.186 billion in 2018. Yes despite the frequency and cumulative cost of these incidents, organizations continue to perceive their impact as relatively low, ranking them 12th on the list of top risks for 2019.

"It is easy for leaders to be kept awake at night by high-profile risks such as cyber-attacks, technology disruptions, and IT outages, but they must not ignore the smaller, more frequent risks that steadily erode the bottom line," said Howard Kerr, BSI's chief executive. "Organizations that do not take all threats they face seriously or develop plans to manage them are exposing themselves to not only reputational loss, but what can become quite severe financial costs. Achieving true organizational resilience means identifying not only the big risks, but also the underrated issues that may just seem 'business as usual' and can easily be missed."

This year's report also finds that political change is predicted to be one of the top 10 disruptions during the next 12 months. It said organizations with business continuity plans in place for more than a year suffer fewer disruptions than their peers; they reported lower losses (6 percent) than the average (7 percent) from disruptions in the past 12 months.

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