Assessing risk

Preparing risk assessments
Calculating hazard
Analysing risk
Making risk assessment
Evaluating risk

Communication about risks often amounts to communicating the results of risk assessment. Therefore the question of how risks are assessed is of central relevance.

Most risks and hazards in modern society are not inevitable but rather arise as the direct or indirect outcome of human activities. The backdrop to any policy on risk communication must be the goal of reducing and where possible eliminating avoidable hazards. Risk communication should not be a process whereby government or industry attempts to make avoidable hazards appear more acceptable to the public, with the hazard presented as a "given".


Risk assessment can be a powerful tool when dealing with well delineated systems, where the hazards are well defined (e.g. traffic).

Aside from the difficulty of accurately and confidently quantifying risks, the question of their public acceptability depends on a range of other issues which involve subjective value judgements. This implies a need for broad societal input into decision-making on risks, the role of value judgements and the treatment of scientific uncertainty in risk assessment.


Governments should encourage maximization of the identification and quantification of hazards within any given risk assessment, thus reducing as far as possible the number of assumptions related to modelling. As regards the assumptions that remain, it is important that these are clearly stated and that the precautionary principle is rigorously applied.



Counter Claim:

Risk assessments without adequate hazard assessments simply provide options for choice.

Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality Education