Is it possible to quantify the social perception of an industrial accident risks? Lesson from the Mont Blanc highway tunnel fire tragedy.

Is it possible to quantify the social perception of an industrial accident risks? Lesson from the Mont Blanc highway tunnel fire tragedy.

Oct 30th, 2013

Is it possible to quantify the social perception of an industrial accident risks?

In a recent research study we used the Mont Blanc Tunnel 1999 tragic fire accident as an example. The aim was to illustrate the concepts of social perception quantification. This approach could be applied to any accident, in any industry, while developing a holistic risk assessment.

The research paper we have crafted discusses how a risk assessment could have been carried out before the accident. It examines if the resulting risks would have been considered societally acceptable. Obviously they were not, as the socio-political consequences of the catastrophic accident demonstrated.

The discussion requires framing the likelihood of occurrence and the magnitude of consequences as it would have been possible before the accident occurred. This

quantify the social perception of an industrial accident risks

K8 Well lit and well marked tunnel

is performed using the available data as indicators, using various methods, yielding a range of possible values covering uncertainties.

Probability and consequences ranges are compared to well known societal tolerance thresholds. It can be shown that within the ranges of evaluated annual probabilities any fatal accident would have been considered as societally unacceptable leading to propose a range of mitigative measures.

The paper then shows that the selection of the type of consequences and their combination can severely bias the perception of the results of a classic risk assessment application. A communication strategy is suggested to convey to clients the correct message when dealing with “societal” consequences of private industry risks.

A simplified version of the example is downloadable for free Quantifying Social Perception of an Industrial Accident Risk.

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Category: Consequences, Crisis management, Hazard, Mitigations, Probabilities, Risk analysis, Risk management

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