Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The complexity of risk management is seen most clearly in the case of biotechnology. All risk management depends strongly on commitment and morale of operatives, since no external discipline can ensure uniformly good practice. When the hazard-producing agents are largely invisible and even mainly innocuous, motivating standard safety practices can become very difficult. Further, what may be critical in assuring safety in one sort of laboratory, or with one sort of material, may be irrelevant or distracting in another. The ritualised procedures, with associated attitudes, that may be adopted for controlling routine risks, may be quite counterproductive in the case of occasional accidents. Even the maintenance of success in routine safety, which depends on nothing being seen to happen, may lead to laxity in practice or under-reporting of incidents. The lesson is that risk management cannot be approached as a simple skill but that its contradictory features must be appreciated and incorporated into any successful system.

Additional information

Authors: RAVETZ J R, Leeds University, Leeds (GB);FUNTOWICZ S O, JRC Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: Workshop on Indicators and Indices for Environmental Impact Assessment and Risk Analysis, Ispra (IT), May 15-16, 1990
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 35532 ORA
Record Number: 199011180 / Last updated on: 1994-12-01
Original language: en
Available languages: en