The Use of Risk in the Regulation of Hazards in the UK (PSAM-0041)


This paper briefly reviews how UK legislation on health and safety has developed over 150 years from an initially prescriptive, industrial activity focus to a goal setting approach. The basis of current UK law is the concept that risks should be controlled and reduced so far as is reasonably practicable. Regulation of hazards requires an assessment of the risks and what measures might reduce them and implementation of those measures that are reasonably practicable, taking account of the sacrifice in doing so. The UK regulatory approach to risks is described with particular emphasis on nuclear safety and current developments on assessment of risk. Whilst quantitative risk analysis contributes to the overall judgment, the importance of the quality of engineering and safety management is also highlighted. Some pitfalls and errors that arise when using quantitative risk assessment are also noted.

  • Summary
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Reasonable Practicability
  • What Is Risk?
  • Risk Measures
  • Nuclear Regulation in the UK
  • Practicalities of Safety Regulation
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgements
  • References

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