Dealing with Major Technological Risks

This article is concerned with the management of major hazards stemming from technology and entailing potentially dreadful consequences. It proposes a brief survey of the0501n difficulties and policy issues arising both in public and private decision making when dealing with major technological risks. Three themes are considered: risk assessment, risk sharing and risk control. Issues related to evaluation methods, to risk perception and to the acceptable level of risk are first examined. The article then goes on to explore the problem of optimal risk sharing between the different stakeholders. The firm's liability and extended liability to the firm's partners are considered. Insurance issues are also discussed. Lastly, the survey addresses the control of risks both from a prevention and from a damage mitigation point of view. The various instruments available to the State to reduce risks are reviewed and several issues are also raised with respect to the measures firms can take to reduce risks. Investment in safety, human error, organisational design and information disclosure are addressed in this section. The topics of siting and urban planning are analysed as mitigation strategies, and the important aspect of emergency planning ends the survey.
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