Chapter 2Risk Assessment Basics

Street Calculus and Perceived Risk

Risk is around us everywhere. We cannot begin to understand specific risks without an evaluation of the nature of relative risk and our perception of it. We perform a risk analysis whenever we express fear, concern, or doubt. The fear of failure, injury, death, or loss is something we experience every day, and we express fear when our “street calculus” tells us that the risk we are about to take may be unacceptable and will result in injury, death, or loss.

Similarly, we look at plant operations and fail to consider the risks that are over and above what we consider “normal” operations. Familiarity with those risks often leads us to dismiss them, saying “It will never happen here,” or ignore them completely. Often, plant management wants to look only at “special” risks, which are unusual events not part of daily operations. True plant security must consider natural or routine risks as both internal and external to the plant environment.

Street Calculus

Street Calculus is the conscious and unconscious evaluation of risk. A collision, an accident, or a harmful event is a failure of risk assessment. We perform a “Street Calculus” or small risk assessment whenever we cross the street, drive through a strange neighborhood, or encounter someone on the street. There are as many different ways of assessing risk as there are people. There is no right or wrong way, but some ways are more complete than others.

Imagine yourself walking ...

Get Industrial Security: Managing Security in the 21st Century now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.