RR34 - Understanding and responding to societal concerns

The purpose of this report is to provide a sounder footing for the understanding and hence management of societal concerns.'Societal concerns' is a nebulous term difficult to endow with concrete meaning and which, it has to be acknowledged, signifies different things to different people. In the HSE publication 'Reducing risks, protecting people,' 'societal concerns' are described as follows:

"...the risks or threats from hazards which impact on society and which, if realised, could have adverse repercussions for the institutions responsible for putting in place the provisions and arrangements for protecting people, eg Parliament or the Government of the day. This type of concern is often associated with hazards that give rise to risks which, were they to materialise, could provoke a socio-political response, eg risk of events causing widespread or large scale detriment or the occurrence of multiple fatalities in a single event. Typical examples relate to nuclear power generation, railway travel, or the genetic modification of organisms. Societal concerns due to the occurrence of multiple fatalities in a single event is known as 'societal risk.' Societal risk is therefore a subset of societal concerns."

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Updated 2021-04-15