Episode Summary

On today’s episode, we discuss the subjectivity of technical risk assessment.

Episode Notes

As risk assessment is such a central topic in the world of safety science, we thought we would dedicate another episode to discussing a facet of this subject. We loop back to risk matrices and determine how to score risks.

Join us as we try to determine the subjectivity of risk assessment and the pitfalls of such an endeavor.


  • Risk matrices.
  • Why the paper we reference is a trustworthy source.
  • Scoring risks.
  • How objective are we?
  • How to interpret risk scores.
  • What the risk-rating is dependent upon.
  • Practical takeaways.


“The difference between an enumeration and a quantitative value is that enumeration has an order attached to it. So it let’s us say that ‘this thing is more than that thing.’ “

“I think this was a good way of seeing whether the differences or alignment happened in familiar activities or unfamiliar activities. Because then you can sort of get an idea into the process, as well as the shared knowledge of the group…”

“So, what we see is, if you stick to a single organization and eliminate the outliers, you’ve still got a wide spread of scores on every project.”

“We’re already trying pretty hard and if we’re still not converging on a common answer, then I think we need to rethink the original assumption that there is a common answer that can be found…”


Are We Objective?

Risk Perceptions & Decision-Making in the Water Industry