Chapter 1What is a risk analysis?

A main objective of a risk analysis is to describe risk, that is, to present an informative risk picture. Figure 1.1 illustrates important building blocks of such a risk picture. Located at the centre of the figure is the initiating event (the hazard, the threat, the opportunity), which we denote by c01-math-0001. In the example, the event is that a person (John) contracts a specific disease. An important task in the risk analysis is to identify such initiating events. In our example, we may be concerned about various diseases that could affect the person. The left side of the figure illustrates the causal picture that may lead to the event c01-math-0002. The right side describes the possible consequences of c01-math-0003.

c01f01

Figure 1.1 Example of a bow-tie.

On the left side are barriers that are introduced to prevent the event c01-math-0004 from occurring; these are the probability reducing or preventive barriers. Examples of such barriers are medical check-ups/examinations, vaccinations and limiting ...

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