Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2013

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Symposium: Foundational Issues in Risk Analysis, Part II

Room: Key Ballroom 3   3:30 PM - 5:10 PM

Chair(s): Elizabeth Pate-Cornell, Roger Flage

M4-C.1  15:30  Concerns, challenges and directions of development for the issue of representing uncertainty in risk assessment. Flage R*, Aven T, Zio E, Baraldi P; University

Abstract: In the analysis of the risk related to rare events that may lead to catastrophic consequences with large uncertainty, it is questionable that the knowledge and information available for the analysis can be reflected properly by probabilities. Approaches other than purely probabilistic ones have been suggested, for example based on interval probabilities, possibilistic measures, or qualitative methods. In the present paper we look into the problem and identify a number of issues which are foundational for its treatment. The foundational issues addressed reflect on the position that “probability is perfect” and take into open consideration the need for an extended framework for risk assessment that reflects the separation that practically exists between analyst and decision maker.

M4-C.2  15:50  On black swans and perfect storms. Pate-Cornell ME*; Stanford University

Abstract: I will discuss the origins of the terms "black swans" and "perfect storms", their relations to different types of uncertainties, and the way they have sometimes been used as excuses for bad decisions. I will then address some risk management strategies to deal with different classes of situations. These include monitoring (e.g. of signals of epidemics for the CDC) and gathering of information about marginal and conditional probabilities (e.g. weather data) of events that in rare combinations, can have disastrous effects. In all cases, the use of systems analysis and probabilities (mostly Bayesian) is key to decision support.

M4-C.3  16:10  How often should safety critical valves be tested? Abrahamsen EB, Asche F, Gelyani A*, Guikema S; University of Stavanger, Norway (for author 1, 2 and 3). Johns Hopkins University, USA (for author 4)

Abstract: The regulation given by the PSAN (Petroleum Safety Authority Norway) requires annual testing of safety critical valves. In the present paper we discuss the rationale for this requirement, as annual testing by the operators is considered as too strict. The expected utility theory, which is the backbone for all economic thinking on decisions under uncertainty, is used as basis for the discussion. We show that requirements formulated by the authorities on how often safety critical valves should be tested, usually will be stricter than what the operators prefer. We also show that the requirement of annual testing likely will be too strict also from a societal point of view, if the objective of annual testing is only improvements in reliability of the valves. One is then disregarding the fact that testing of safety critical valves also has negative effects on safety for those who perform the tests, as well as negative effects for the environment.

M4-C.4  16:30  What are the effects on safety of using safety standards in major hazard industries? Abrahamsen EB, Asche F, Milazzo MF*; University of Messina

Abstract: To protect people from hazards it is common to use safety standards. There is a general understanding in the literature that such standards will contribute to improved safety. In this paper we discuss this issue when several safety measures are present and safety standards apply to a subset of these alternatives. We show that the use of safety standards does not always give the expected effect on safety, as the implementation of safety standards for some measures can reduce investments in safety measures not affected by the standards. If the restrictions are sufficiently strong, the safety standards may lead to a reduction in overall safety. Our starting point focuses on major hazard industries, but our discussion is to a large extent general and could also be applied in other areas.

[back to schedule]