Public Safety and Risk Assessment: Improving Decision Making

Public Safety and Risk Assessment: Improving Decision Making


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This book aims to encourage a more reflective, multidisciplinary approach to public safety, and the 'reenfranchisement' of those affected by this new phenomenon. Over the past decade health and safety has become a major issue of public interest. There are countless stories of health and safety activities interfering with public life, preventing some beneficial activity from taking place – even creating absurd or dangerous situations. On the one hand, risk assessment, properly conducted, is highly beneficial – it saves lives and prevents injuries. But on the other, it can damage public life. Why has this come about, and does it have to be like that? The authors examine the origins of the problem, look critically at the tools used by safety assessors and their underlying assumptions, and consider important differences between public life and industry (where the approaches largely originated). They illuminate the whole with an analysis of legal requirements, attitudes of stakeholders, and recent research on risk perception and decision making. The result is a profound and important analysis of risk and safety culture and a framework for managing public safety more effectively.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849713801
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/01/2011
Series: Earthscan Risk in Society Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 0.62(w) x 0.92(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

David Ball is Professor of Risk Management and Director of the Centre for Decision Analysis & Risk Management at Middlesex University, UK. Previously he was Director of the Centre for Environmental and Risk Management at the University of East Anglia, and before that worked as a scientist in local and central government and the private sector in Britain and the USA. He is a regular consultant to government departments and regulators as well as international agencies.

Laurence Ball-King has a Masters degree in risk management and a BA in economics and politics. He has worked in credit risk management within financial services and on a variety of non-financial risks including adventure activities and public safety more generally.

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Clear and Foreseeable Danger 2. Risk Assessment - A Simple Tool? 3. Is Safety Paramount? 4. Risk and Safety - A National Philosophy 5. What Works in Public Life? 6. Legal Matters 7. Advice - Whose Advice? 8. A Closer Look at Decision Making 9. Adventure Activities - A Hard Case 10. Risk-benefit Assessment 11. In Search of a New Agenda 12. Final Thoughts and Résumé

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