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NEWSLETTER – JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 INFLUENZA PANDEMIC “EU urges calm as bird flu spreads” Business Day 16 February “SA registers Tamiflu to ward off bird flu outbreak” Business Day 21 February “Cape Vets join mission to assess bird flu” Citizen From the media headlines, it seems like an inevitable and encroaching threat. But, ‘bird’ flu has been around for many years – SA successfully contained an outbreak within the ostrich flocks two years ago. The real threat, if scientists are to be believed, is when and not if, the avian virus mutates to a human influenza strain and a pandemic occurs. The spread may be rapid affecting many industries and economies worldwide both directly and indirectly. A white paper – “Managing the risks of an invisible threat”, published by Aon UK - provides a comprehensive and interesting background to influenza pandemics and a commentary on today’s threat. The paper, which is housed in the ‘Articles’ section of the e-library, will assist Members respond to queries relating to the potential impact of the development of a pandemic by creating a greater understanding of the threat and the need for business planning and preparedness. Gartner, the US based technology research house, suggests the following to ensure companies can react quickly and effectively:
Assess and improve your business continuity plans for a work-force
outage – few companies have planed for a 30% absenteeism rate sustained over a period of weeks and months, not days
Establish policies and tools to let employees work from home with
broadband access and appropriate security measures when they access their applications
Expand online transaction and self-service options for customers and
Rethink your approach to the supply chain. If transportation systems
are down or quarantined, it could affect deliveries of raw materials or finished goods
Make your employees aware of the avian flu threat and the steps being
Assign someone to track such biological threats and to update
business continuity plans in response to new information.
The Aon report draws a parallel to the 1918 influenza pandemic in which some 40-50 million people died….and that was before the development of international air travel as we know it today. Historic pandemic data and current studies of the influenza virus indicate that once person-to-person transmission begins, the virus could infect a large portion of the world's population within three months, leading to large-scale absenteeism throughout the workforce and loss in productivity. Just how prepared is South Africa on both a national and corporate level? IRMSA have secured an authoritative speaker on this issue from the National Department of Health who will address a breakfast briefing in Johannesburg on 12th April at JCC, Woodmead. Then, to place these concerns firmly within a business context, Aon are arranging for one of the London based authors of the international report – Hugh Leighton - to be available at our Breakfast to discuss business continuity issues at corporate level. Diarise this event; registration will open on 9th March. DID YOU KNOW?
Germs enough to put you off your trolley
Seoul - Shopping cart handles are the most bacteria-infested items among some commonly used objects while doorknobs on public bathrooms are not as bad as might be expected, according to a survey conducted in South Korea. The Korea Consumer Protection Board tested six items that are commonly handled by the public and ran tests for their bacteria content. Shopping cart handles led the way with 1 100 colony forming units of bacteria per 10cm2 followed by a mouse used on computers in internet cafés, which had an average of 690 colony forming units.
Critical shortage of Risk Management skills In terms of the Regulations promulgated under the Immigration Act in February, risk managers are deemed to have critical skills and provision is made for 500 to be fast tracked through immigration processes on entering the country provided they belong to a relevant professional body and have five years relevant experience The Other Me The South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) reports an increase of 29% in the number of cases of identity theft and impersonation between 2004 filings and 2005. Identity theft is reported to have cost the UK economy Stg 1,72bn last year. 2006 EVENTS & CONFERENCES If you have not already done so, please diarise the following events – 9th March 2006: Johannesburg Breakfast Briefing – The Art and Science of Managing Strategic Risks – Dan Moeti, Chief Risk Officer, South African Airways.
http://www.irmsa.org.za/1jhbbreakfast0306.htm 11th April 2006: Cape Town Breakfast Briefing – Topic & speaker to be announced. Venue – Vineyard Hotel, Newlands. 12th April 2006: Johannesburg Breakfast Briefing – An influenza Pandemic – the invisible risk to South Africa – Christelle Kotzenberg, Cluster Manager for communicable diseases, Dept of Health partnered with an international speaker from Aon SA. 10th May 2006: KZN Breakfast Briefing - Topic & speaker to be announced 17th May 2006: Johannesburg Breakfast Briefing – “Understanding Technology and Business Continuity Risk” – Avi Eyal, CEO, CURA Risk Solutions. Venue – JCC, Woodmead. 7th June 2006: Cape Town Conference – Full day Conference focused on “Risk, its all about people”. Conference info and a registration form are available by clicking www.irmsa.org.za/capeconference
16/17th October 2006: The IRMSA Experience – “2010 and the supply chain risk”. Venue: The Forum at The Campus, Bryanston. Watch the Newsletter for further details.
12-15th November 2006: Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RMIA) Conference – Melbourne, Australia. Web link www.rmiaconf.com
The recent power outages reported in areas of Johannesburg and, more particularly, Cape Town have increased awareness of the necessity for business to have a strategic contingency plan. Paul Skivington, an Associate of the Institute who sits on our Executive Committee and chairs our Education and Technical Sub Committee, explains. “Power failures in parts of Johannesburg and Cape Town have regularly left residential areas, businesses and medical facilities powerless, resulting in myriad losses and untold damage. Losses include critical data and productivity, leading to an impact on revenue, efficiencies, and reputational damage caused by break down in communications and an inability to deliver products and services as scheduled.” “Even very basic risk issues such as inoperative traffic lights, building lifts, security systems, inoperative medical facilities and the inability to continue business-as-usual are amongst the perils caused by a power failure that need to be accounted for in a risk assessment and contingency plans,” says Skivington. Power outages are usually unplanned and unexpected and are often caused by unforeseeable events such as storms, cable theft, vandalism, fires, failure of equipment or an emergency switch-off. In addition, as the city grows, demand on power generation and distribution systems increases so the risk becomes more and more concentrated. While such events causing business interruption are unanticipated; business interruption or discontinuity can be prevented or minimised by evaluating the business’ risk vulnerabilities and preparing an effective contingency plan. “Prevention is always better than cure!” says Skivington, pointing to how few businesses have sound and tested contingency plans in place that can be implemented when the power fails. An evaluation of business risks should be considered normal business practice, particularly in light of new aspects of the King II report on Corporate Governance. King II advocates that a board of company directors should be cognisant of and report potential business risks, taking respective action to diminish the relevant risks. Skivington says people acknowledge the importance of a comprehensive risk
assessment more so after they experience a disruptive event and bear witness to its often devastating effects on a business, its dependant businesses and the market/s in which they operate. “Perception is often the reason why companies prevaricate doing a risk assessment,” says Skivington. He said factors shaping the perception of businesses deciding on whether to conduct a risk assessment and developing a contingency plan include: (1) the cost / benefit ratio - a business may erroneously believe that the cost of a risk assessment and development of a strategic contingency plan outweighs the benefit; however they neglect to consider the absolute cost of neglecting this vital aspect of sound business management. (2) a business may believe that the likelihood of an actual event causing business disruption occurring is improbable and consequently opt to rather chance fate, hoping that “it will never happen.” (3) a business may be oblivious of the potential risks implicated in its business.” “The recent power outages highlight the importance that needs to be placed on a business obtaining professional advice on its potential risks and business disruptions, having a contingency plan in place and regularly testing its effectiveness, as well as challenging the perception of possible risks,” says Skivington. Paul Skivington is Executive Leader, Strategic Risk Consulting at Alexander Forbes Risk Services and chairs the Education and Technical subcommittee at IRMSA. SPONSORSHIP Would your enterprise be interested in sponsoring an Institute event or facility and derive branding benefit from doing so? We have developed a portfolio of sponsorship opportunities which range from Breakfast Briefings to our website – we now exceed 2000 hits a month. This document can be accessed by clicking http://www.irmsa.org.za/2006%20IRMSA%20Sponsorship%20Portfolio.pdf The Institute, as your professional body, can only grow and sustain value with the active involvement of our membership and your promoting this particular initiative would be greatly appreciated.
SUBSCRIPTIONS 2006/7 Individual members are reminded that subscriptions are due for renewal on 1st March for the year 2006/7. The Executive Committee recently completed a benchmarking exercise with other professional bodies and are confident that the new subscriptions detailed below are realistic and in the lower quartile of those imposed through other institutions
2006/7 Individual Member Subscription Model
Invoices for the new subscriptions will be e-mailed to Members early in March and we would seek your co-operation in not only effecting early settlement but also ensuring that adequate reference – your name and membership number – are reflected on the bank deposit slip/electronic payment advice. Reconciliation of unreferenced items can be a nightmare for our admin staff and, more importantly, could mean your subscription is not recorded as paid. Contact us: Lobedu House, 3 Simba Road, Sunninghill Tel: (011) 235 4128
Do Higher Doses of Vitamin C Lower Elevated Blood Pressure? Three studies say higher doses can for those with elevated blood pressure. By Michael Mooney June 2002 Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2002 Jun;282(6):H2414-21 Vitamin C prevents hyperoxia-mediated vasoconstriction and impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Mak S, Egri Z, Tanna G, Colman R, Newton GE. Cardiovascular
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