Jun 022011

Sam Ignarski of Bow Wave sent us a link to a blog by David Ropeik in Soapbox Science. Says Sam: ” He is a delver into the psychology of risk perception and contemplates why we overrate some risks and underrate others.  For example–man-made radiation vs radiation from
the sun.

“This piece is on risk and our irrational belief in perfect reason. “No matter what the hard risk sciences may tell us the facts are about a risk, the social sciences tell us that our interpretation of those facts is ultimately subjective”.

This Risk Gap is very present in the maritime industry where we’re told so often of the importance of risk assessments to making operations like confined space entry safer. Confined space entry is perceived as a problem for tankers rather than other vessels. The fact is that two thirds of incidents happen on non-tank vessels. That may be why tanker owners, operators, officers and crew take a greater level of interest in confined space entry that, for example, their bulk-carrier equivalents.

A study by the Seafarers International Research Centre at Cardiff University found: “As an overall group, seafarers and managers mostly saw the activity of entering an enclosed space as presenting a ‘very great’ risk to seafarers’ health and safety.

“However when we looked at the same group in terms of nationality we found that
those respondents from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands saw the risk as
lower than those of the other nationalities listed”.