Let's talk about alternatives to Risk Assessments?
Alternatives to Risk Assessments
Presumably there has been some hazard identified, otherwise we would not be interested at all. Then remember the 1983 NAS paradigm that emphasizes the separation of risk assessment and risk management, and the 1996 paradigm that iterates through the two with an emphasis on stakeholder involvement. But both imply a separation of the assessment - the statement of probability and severity of some harm - from the management - what, if anything, are we going to do about it. But then we recognize that risk assessments take time, money, resources, management decisions, etc., and therefore it is impossible to do a risk assessment without first making some risk management decisions.
The process must start with at least a mental or "back of the envelope" risk assessment, but this too is a risk assessment.
We learned the EPA superfund systems of investigation called for stages. Each stage called for risk management decisions following a risk assessment. Also, we presented RBCA and RBC, which give us numbers below which we don't have to do anything. That is, if we know the soil contamination and some site and receptor characteristics, the risk management decision is made for us, if the site is below the stated levels. RBCA and RBC are still risk assessments, they just make use of conservative assumptions to avoid doing some of the risk assessment work and its associated expense.
Module 13 Index