The deterministic approach to safety
Hazard analysis involves the proactive identification of possible risks and the estimation of their possible consequences. This consists of identifying hazards that could lead to dangerous situations, analyzing a small number of accidental scenarios that could lead to maximal damage, and designing preventive or protective barriers that prevent unacceptable levels of damage from an accident. Important notions are the plausible worst case scenario and the maximum foreseeable loss.
Hazard analysis is a component of the deterministic approach to safety assessment. A conservative point estimate of possible exposure to the risk is compared with a threshold value to determine whether the activity is acceptable. Typically, safety factors or safety margins are used to incorporate uncertainty in the risk assessment.
Deterministic methods for risk assessment are widely used in ecotoxicity, food safety and management of natural hazards such as earthquakes and floods.
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