Article - Issue 23, June 2005
Lloyd's Register Lecture 2005
Professor Andrew Evans Courtesy of Dominic Joyeux
On 14 April 2005, Professor Andrew Evans from the Centre for Transport Studies at Imperial College London gave this year’s lecture on Safety Appraisal Criteria.
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s President, Lord Broers, hosted this year’s event at the Institution of Electrical Engineers in London, which was attended by over a hundred people.
The lecture dealt with the criteria for the appraisal of safety measures in engineering systems, with particular reference to transport. Professor Evans covered three main topics, giving a brief review of accident and fatality data in Great Britain over the last three decades and focusing on major accidents, transport fatalities by mode and accident size distributions.
He then moved on to describe a risk appraisal framework based on the concepts of the tolerability of individual risk, the requirement that risks should be as low as reasonably practicable and safety cost benefit analysis.
Finally he spoke of the possible alternative or additional criteria, including the argument that safety benefits should be given disproportionate weight relative to costs, so-called ‘societal risk’ criteria, the appraisal of the indirect effects of accidents and wider societal concerns.
Professor Evans finished his lecture by saying that, ultimately, safety decisions must be made by the managers and regulators of engineering systems, and not by appraisers. Safety decisions always have aspects that are outside the scope of formal appraisals, and each decision has its own context. The current consensus is that although formal appraisals inform decisions, they do not determine them.
A question and answer session was followed by a dinner hosted by Lloyd’s Register Group, the independent risk management organisation and the sponsors of the lecture series. A transcript of the full lecture is available in hard copy from The Royal Academy of Engineering or online at: www.raeng.org.uk/events/past events.htm