UKTC Archive

RE: Tree hazard potential assessment study RISK AVERSITY?

Subject: RE: Tree hazard potential assessment study RISK AVERSITY?
From: David Evans
Date: Sep 12 2018 08:19:55
<<Is there an official definition of risk-averse?>>

Hi Wayne

It depends what risk you're talking about.  As we're talking about trees, 
here's my take on it.

Being risk-averse is a slavish devotion to risk reduction, or the Sisyphean 
task of trying to minimise risk.  It's trying to do either, no matter what 
the level of risk is, how much the risk reduction costs, or what benefits 
from the risk are lost.  If you conflate a hazard with a risk, you'll be 
vulnerable to risk-averse thinking.

I thought I'd raised the 'hazard = risk' thing before on here because you 
keep using 'Tree hazard potential' in your subject headers, and crowbarring 
it into the subject header when you're replying to threads.  But I can't find 
it in my sent items.  When I read 'Tree hazard potential' I hear finger nails 
slowly being drawn down a blackboard.  Here's why.

A 'hazard' is simply something that could cause harm.

Whereas, 'risk' is the probability of something bad happening.  The 
probability that the 'hazard' will cause harm.

The problem with Tree Hazard Assessment thinking is that you're prone to look 
at - What could happen?  There's a hazard.  We need to do something about it, 
or eliminate it.  It's a ‘risk-averse’ mind-set.  It'll also set you up for 
'hindsight bias' in the event of a tree failure.  Tree Hazards can be 
acceptable (very low) risks.

On the other hand, Tree Risk-Benefit Assessment thinking – What is most 
likely to happen?  There's a hazard, what's the risk from the hazard and is 
that risk acceptable?  What benefits does the hazard provide?  Is reducing 
the risk from the hazard 'proportionate'?  It's a ‘risk-aware’ mind-set.


Acer ventura

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