Risk Assessment: The Value of Risk in Relation to Your Surroundings

Module Summary

Risk assessment is the process that tells us the likelihood and severity of a harmful event. Then, based on our personal judgment (informal risk assessment we apply in our everyday lives) or an objective process (formal process applied by scientists) we can determine how the hazards that surround us can affect our safety in workplaces, public areas, and own homes. In assessing the risks in our environment in which we live, we are continuously evaluating everything that surrounds us and everything as a whole that can affect us. All of us evaluate the risk of our activities in our daily lives. Similarly, government agencies estimate the risk of different health and environmental threats, such as toxic substances, to determine what is a safe level of exposure so as not to cause adverse effects to our health. In this module you will learn to identify and differentiate between the interrelated concepts of what is a hazard and what is a risk. You will also learn how government agencies develop the suggestions that help safeguard our health.

Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate and identify what is a hazard and what is a risk
  • Describe the concepts of uncertainty, probability, and variability
  • Define what is risk assessment
  • Identify the four principal steps of risk assessment 
  • Learn basic information regarding the risks of lead and other hazards that surround us

Statement by the Authors

Brief quotations from these modules are allowed without special permission, provided that accurate acknowledgement of the source is made.  Requests for permission for extended quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be granted by the copyright holder.

(Suggested citation: Morales, M. L., Loh, M., & Moreno Ramirez, D. (2014). Promotor Transferable Training Modules on Risk Assessment in the Environment. Retrieved from: http://superfund.arizona.edu/learning-modules/promotor-modules/risk.)