Risk Management And Perception

Risk Assessment

Proper Risk and Hazard management involves a search for the best route between social benefit and environmental risk. Yet at the same time, the species does invent this:

Responsible Environmental Management (an oxymoron?) requires long term vision. Is this possible within the framework of exponential growth? --> The Dot War

Risk Assessment has 5 identified, interrelated components:

  1. Risk Identification and Characterization --> needs to be done objectively. When this is done surprising results sometimes occur.

  2. Risk Estimation and Quantification of the Hazard:

    • Magnitude
    • Spatial Scale
    • Duration of the event
    • short and long term impacts
    • intensity of adverse consequences
    • Probability (very important to do this correctly)
    • causal agents

  3. Risk Evaluation --> Judging the significance and acceptability of the risk --> who is the judge? how much should an (un)informed public participate. Compensation channels need to be clearly defined.

  4. Risk Communication --> poor media portrayal; must be done objectively

  5. Risk Decision and Management: --> Proactive or reactive? Intervention or non-intervention


    How the Government Does this

    Application of these principles to different mechanism of Energy Generation and Transport

    More Risk Assessment

    • What risks do you evaluate?
    • Priority: Real or Perceived Risk: If perceived, how do you correct it?
    • How reliable is the risk analysis?
    • How safe is safe? (Ford Pintos)
    • How much will it cost to reduce the risk to an acceptable level?
    • Who determines what is acceptable?
    • What is the most effective method of risk reduction?
    • Who is responsible for the costs of Risk reduction?

    Kinds of Risks:

    • Natural Risks
    • Elevated Risks --> above naturally occurring ones (e.g. radiation)
    • Comparative risks --> comparing risks of a specific action with risks of other commonly known actions
    • Balanced Risk --> risk of chosen action compared to risks of alternative actions that might achieve the same benefits (e.g. nutrasweet/saccharine)
    Overriding factors remain:

    • Cost-benefit
    • proper risk estimation!
    • inform the public objectively!!! (shoot all journalists now!)

    Four Stages of Risk Communication

    1. Stonewall Stage --> Ignore the Public
    2. Missionary Stage --> One-way communication --> show the public why you're right and they're wrong
    3. Dialogue Stage --> Learn from the public the ways in which they're right and you're wrong
    4. Organizational Stage --> Build the foundation for dialogue so that it becomes natural

    Risk Communication Table

    Probability in Risk Management: The likelihood that, for N random samples of events, an undesired outcome will occur. If the probability is low, then N must be large to have one event. This point is often forgotten when that one event occurs.

    Comparative Probability of Death by doing different activities:

    Units of deaths per billion with one hour of risk exposure:

    • Giving This lecture: < 1
    • Being vaccinated: 1.3
    • Living in an area where snakes are present: 3.8
    • Radiation exposure of world population to a local nuclear conflict: 5.0
    • Rail or bus travel in USA: 10.0
    • Rail or bus travel in Britain: 50
    • Child asleep in crib: 140
    • Being struck by lightning: 200
    • Amateur Boxing: 450
    • Climbing Stairs: 550
    • Coal Mining: 910
    • Hunting: 950
    • Automobile Travel: 1200
    • Air travel: 1450
    • Cigarette Smoking: 2600
    • Small boat boating: 3000
    • Swimming: 3650
    • Motorcycle riding: 6280
    • Serving in Vietnam: 7935
    • Canoeing: 10000
    • Motorcycle racing: 35000
    • Alpine Mountaineering: 40000
    • Professional Boxing: 70000
    • Birth: 80000

    One in a million risk of death from the following:

    • 1.5 cigarettes
    • driving 50 files
    • flying 250 miles
    • 1.5 minutes of rock climbing
    • 6 minutes of canoeing
    • 20 minutes being a man aged 60
    • 1-2 weeks of typical factory work

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