Risk Evaluation

Technological risks are being challenged on moral and emotional bases… Risk decision makers struggle with these dynamic, interactive, and expanding debates.

For highly controversial issues (i.e., climate change, fracking, and genetically modified organisms), rather than a central organization establishing its context and evaluating its risk – individuals and organizations are self-identifying with these issues, opting into increasingly unmediated debate, and actively rejecting organizations’ and even regulators’ risk evaluations. Such stakeholder activism challenges organizations’ ability to effectively establish their context and identify and evaluate their risks. Proactively identifying stakeholders and their underlying concerns allows organizations to proactively manage those risks.

Risk Evaluation is the process of comparing an analyzed risk against risk criteria so as to determine if the risk and its magnitude (i.e., high, medium, low) are acceptable or tolerable or if additional controls are needed to reduce the risk further.

Risk criteria may be based on:

  • organizational objectives (safety, environmental, economic),
  • external context (cultural, social, political, legal, regulatory, financial, technological, economic, natural and competitive environment)and relationships with and perceptions/values of external stakeholders, and/or
  • internal context (policies, objectives, governance, structure, culture, roles, accountabilities, contractual relationships).

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Areas of Research

There were 919 occupational fatalities in Canada for 2014… Even with sophisticated risk-informed approaches, many hazards are overlooked.

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80-90% of losses are caused by human (individual and organizational) failures… Yet systems approaches focus on technology and processes.

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Technological risks are being challenged on moral and emotional bases… Risk decision makers struggle with these dynamic, interactive, and expanding debates.

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The adoption of technologies and new processes is often opposed. Overcoming this requires building: awareness of problem, interest for solutions, evaluation of benefits, solution trailing, and lastly adoption.

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Organizations can be regulated at various levels, on various activities, by various actors, and through various modes. Yet, what is the interactivity between these?  What are the most effective enhancements?


Dr. Lianne Lefsrud, Ph.D, P.Eng.

Engineering Safety and Risk Management, Faculty of Engineering
12-287 Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering 9211 116 Street, Edmonton, T6G 1H9

Phone: 780.492.8351 (office) | 780.951.3455 (mobile)
lefsrud@ualberta.ca  |  LinkedIn |  Twitter


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Hello! I have an op-ed article in The New York Times today! I discuss the importance of non-political humor in these very political times. https://t.co/uYqtvNBzrM