International Conference on Applications of Statistics and Probability in Civil Engineering (ICASP) (12th : 2015)

On the regulation of life safety risk Faber, Michael H.; Sørensen, John Dalsgaard; Vrouwenvelder, A. C. W. M. (Ton)


The present paper takes up the issue of appropriate choice of metric for life safety and health related risks in a regulatory context addressing effects of temporal and spatial scales for their consistent quantification and comparison across societal sectors, industries and application areas. Starting point is taken in a short outline of what is considered to comprise the present best practice rationale for life safety and health risk regulation. Thereafter, based on selected principal examples from different application areas, inconsistencies in present best practice risk quantification in a regulatory context are highlighted and discussed. It is identified and explained that the principle of decision optimization and conjoint fulfillment of the marginal lifesaving principle does not render the assessment of the individual life safety risks for specific individuals relevant. Nor is the resulting absolute level of individual life safety risk subject to assessment of acceptability. It is highlighted that a major cause of inconsistency in risk quantifications and comparisons originates from the fact that present regulations partly address societal activities and partly address applied technologies; in some cases take the perspective of individuals and in other cases address the performance of applied technologies. It is furthermore shown that the typically applied averaging of individual risks over time and space may result in unintentional masking of poorly performing activities and applied technologies. Finally, a proposition is made on how the individual life safety risk may be assessed and compared consistently and uniformly over different activities and applied technologies.

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