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Andy Murdy

Why risk assessment is a necessary skill

I saw a couple of pictures posted on Facebook in the past week that make an interesting illustration of risk assessment in practice. 

The first is a picture from a US group called Moms Demand Action who campaign for changes to gun laws.  This article isn't about gun control but it is about risk perception, risk assessment and how things are portrayed.

So, let's start with the picture from Moms Demand Action:

Choose-One_Kinder-Egg

This is a child with a gun and a child holding a Kinder Egg.  The egg is banned as it is perceived as being dangerous.

Choose-One_Dodgeball

The second depicts a dodgeball and a gun.  Dodgeball is viewed as being too violent.

Little-Red-Ridinghood

In this picture, the presence of a bottle of wine in a basket is enough to get the book banned despite the fact that wine and beer were, for most of human history, the safest liquid refreshment available.

 

So, three pictures contrasting risk to children from the USA.

On the one hand you have a gun, designed to kill and on the other you have a chocolate egg with small bits inside, a book and a ball.

The rest of the world gets along with the story, sweet and game and yet gun control, certainly in the developed world, is stricter than in the USA.

So which assessment of risk is correct?

It's a difficult question but I suspect it is impossible to balance the two issues.

The other picture I found was this one:

Photo: Thanks to Jennie for sending this 'wow' picture of the truck stuck under the bridge on Stapleford Rd in Trowell!

 

Here, a little assessment of how high his vehicle was compared to the bridge would have been a good thing.

Risk assessment shouldn't seek to remove all risk, just reduce the risks to an acceptable and manageable level.  If we try to remove all risk we wouldn't have guns, lorries, motorbikes or chocolate and that can't be right, surely?

article_end
“Risk assessment shouldn't seek to remove all risk, just reduce the risks to an acceptable and manageable level.”

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