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Assessing risk in engineering, work and life
Assessing risk in engineering, work and life

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Assessing risk in engineering, work and life

Introduction

All human activities carry some risk that the activity will lead harm to people, the wider environment or have some other unwanted effect. This is true for everything from crossing a road to operating a major oil refinery. We all do these risky things because they carry benefits; crossing a road allows someone to get to the place they need to be at and we all rely on the products from oil refining every day of our lives.

This free course, Assessing risk in engineering, work and life, outlines the issue of risk, which is something that must be taken into account at all times. This is essential to ensure the safety of colleagues, employees, the general public, you and your families. However, risk is not just about health and safety or environmental protection; there are a variety of other risks which could be economic, societal or political. In addition, the failure of a project might itself be ‘risky’. The important thing is to recognise what is meant by risk and, as a result, plan for it as much as possible.

Section 1 examines what is meant by risk and why it is important. Section 2 includes case studies of major accidents to illustrate some important aspects of risk and how we perceive it. Section 3 introduces probability as a method for evaluating risk, and finishes by considering risk management.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course T193 Engineering: frameworks, analysis, production [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .