RR35 - Taking account of societal concerns about risk
Risk is subjective. It is a word that refers to a future that
exists only in the imagination. The Health and Safety Executive
(HSE) has the challenging task of taking into account societal
concerns about risk. The task is challenging, and often thankless,
because society and its concerns are heterogeneous -
"society" consists of diverse groups of stakeholders or
social solidarities, and their concerns are commonly in conflict
with each other. In this report we characterise risk management as
a balancing act involving uncertain rewards and costs, describe the
different groups with which the HSE must contend in performing its
balancing act, note the significance of the different types of risk
about which they are concerned, and conclude that attempts to
manage risk that a) ignore the rewards of risk taking, and/or b)
exclude significant stakeholders, and/or c) fail to appreciate the
type of risk it is sought to manage, are unlikely to succeed.
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