Reliability Engineering and System Safety: The cautionary principle in risk management: Foundation and practical use

Terje Aven, UiS, has published the article “The cautionary principle in risk management: Foundation and practical use”. The article has a theoretical approach that is relevant to the environmental aspects of oil and gas activities in the north. The article is published in the journal Reliability Engineering and System Safety.

Highlights:

  • The scope and rationale of the cautionary principle are reviewed and discussed.
  • New knowledge is gained by relating the principle to specific risk features.
  • Real-life examples are provided to illustrate the discussion.
  • A new concept, the ‘anti-cautionary principle’, is introduced.
  • This principle stimulates actions/measures that can produce highly positive values.

Abstract:

The precautionary principle is well known among scientists, politicians and the public in general. However, the closely related and broader cautionary principle is not so often referred to. Whereas the precautionary principle is typically invoked in cases of scientific uncertainties, the cautionary principle applies to the more general situation of risk and uncertainties. The present paper summarises and extends the argumentation adopted to justify the cautionary principle and presents and discusses some real-life examples of its use, covering both safety and security issues. The aim of the paper is to clarify the rationale of the principle in risk management, by reasoning and using these examples to illustrate the ideas and argumentation. The paper also refers to a new concept, the ‘anti-cautionary principle’, which stimulates actions and measures that can produce highly positive values.

Reference:

Aven, T. (2019): The cautionary principle in risk management: Foundation and practical use. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Volume 191, November 2019, 106585. DOI: 10.1016/j.ress.2019.106585. [intranet]