Safety Management Series – Our Best Informed Guess Is Still Our Best Bet

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I’ve been reading a great deal about Risk lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that Recognizing, evaluating and mitigating (to the extent that is possible) Risks we face is a never-ending battle of probabilities, perception, statistical analysis and GUESSING! We’ll never be able to turn the ART of Risk management into the SCIENCE of Risk Management because of the variety of FUZZY factors. Bottom line is, if you predict it correctly you’re very clever… if you don’t you lose! Hindsight as they say is 20/20. We can only do what we can do.

The best advice I think is to take in the available information, think critically about that information then make the best guess possible. Anyone who suggests a higher knowledge of the process or special talent for this business of Risk… will have to provide a LOT more evidence than I’ve read about lately. How we think about risk and evaluate it is certainly interesting but until the old magic eight-ball becomes a crystal ball with perfect visions of the future… we’re all just guessing!

Once we’ve GUESSED what we think will happen next (with all of our confirmation biases in place (Big Smile)) we need to move forward. Right, wrong or indifferent it’s all we have.

Some things to consider about the ART of Risk:

1) Precautionary principle

Where the availability of scientific evidence is incomplete or contradictory, the precautionary principle moves decision-makers toward timely preventive action whenever a serious or irreversible health hazard is believed to exist as a significant possibility.

2) Sound science

This principle assumes that appearances can often be deceiving if they are based on incomplete information or inadequate scientific studies. The sound science principle emphasizes the need for collection of better quality and more complete scientific information before a risk decision is made. This principle and the precautionary principle are often seen to be in direct opposition to each other, although a reasonable middle ground is usually achievable if different stakeholders are willing to modify their position.

3) The ALARA principle

ALARA stands for “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”. It occupies a broad middle ground between the mutually opposing constraints of the precautionary principle and sound science. Thus an acceptable risk would conceivably be ensured by adopting reasonably achievable control measures which balance risks and benefits.

4) Reasonable relationship

This approach proposes that the costs of control for environmental or occupational hazards should bear a reasonable relationship with the corresponding reduction in health risks that are likely to be achieved.

So good luck in your Risk Management. Recognize that the best that is possible is just the best that is possible. The logic is overwhelming huh? Enjoy your day!

Source by Alan Quilley

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