Thoughts on risk

2020-06-02 · 131 words

My job involves safety and the assessment of risk. Our typical threshold for something potentially harmful to be just about tolerable is that there is a one-in-a-million (1E-06) chance that someone could die from it.

As the government flirts with the idea of allowing people more and more freedom, there is a balance of risk to be calculated. Effectively it is “how many more people dying will we tolerate in order to let people return to work and school?” Or, “how much is a life worth?”

Putting the ethics of this to one side (as I have no valid opinion to give), I find it difficult to imagine how, in future, we will argue over risks as small as 1E-06 or even smaller. It has an air of absurdity about it.