Risk Acceptance

Risk Assessment

When we accept a risk, we are comparing a risk assessment with risk acceptance criteria. If our risk assessment is clear and reliable, providing a clear statement of the probability and severity of an outcome, it is straightforward to compare this risk assessment with our risk acceptance criteria assuming that the acceptance criteria are also clearly defined. In most cases, however, neither the risk assessment nor the risk acceptance criteria are 100% clear and reliable. As such, a judgment is required.

Establishing Acceptance Criteria

What constitutes an acceptable risk can differ significantly from culture to culture and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. National laws and regulations can play a role as can the level of risk present within a society or industry. Personal perspective can also play a role.

Some organizations may choose to establish formal risk acceptance criteria while others may remain informal or relative.

ADS’s Perspective on Risk

ADS’s Directors believe that professional diving and hyperbaric operations can be conducted in an exceptionally safe manner. The Directors believe that the risks that are inherent in diving, if properly managed, can be reduced to extremely low levels. The Director’s also believe that the industry has an obligation to continually improve safety. We believe that the products we build will produce a significant improvement in operational safety.

ADS’s Directors have substantial experience with diving and electronic control system development in one of the most safety conscious and risk adverse regions in the world. This safety culture sets the basis for everything ADS does.

ADS is committed to delivering products which meet or exceed your expectations for safety. We are also committed to delivering products which meet our expectations for safety. ADS is committed to providing the information and documentation necessary to allow you to not only use our equipment safely, but to determine how to use our equipment in a manner which meets your overall risk acceptance criteria.

As Low As Reasonably Practicable

The legal and regulatory structures in many countries apply a concept whereby, within limits, a risk may be deemed acceptable if appropriate steps have been made to reduce the risk. The phrase “As Low As Reasonably Practicable” or “ALARP” is often used in relation to such a risk. A diagram such as that shown here is often used to illustrate the concept.

Risk Assessment Matrix

The diagram conceptualizes the amount of risk as the width of the triangle, increasing from negligible risk at the bottom to extreme risk at the top. The triangle is divided into three sections.

The lower section represents a level of risk which is broadly acceptable in the society (or industry). Such a low level of risk is acceptable without further consideration; although it remains necessary to ensure that the risk associated with the hazard under consideration does not rise above the broadly acceptable level.

The middle section, with risk higher than that which is Broadly Acceptable but lower than that which is Intolerable, represents risks which may be “Tolerable only if further risk reduction is impracticable or if its cost is grossly disproportionate to the improvement gained” (IEC-61508-5:2010 Annex C). This is the ALARP region, where risks are Tolerable if they are As Low As Reasonably Practicable.

The upper section represents a level of risk which is intolerable except in extraordinary circumstances. Unless such circumstances are relevant, an activity involving such a level of risk should not be undertaken.