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Development of a Methodology to Examine the Cost Effectiveness of Health and Safety

The above criteria are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, all three are present in the framework that HSE has developed for deciding what risks are so great as to be unacceptable; so small that no further precautions are necessary; or, if they fall between these two states, whether the risks should be incurred, taking account of the benefits or the need to avoid some greater risk. The criteria known as TOR (short for tolerability of risk) are illustrated in the geometry at Figure 1. The horizontal line at the top represents an upper limit above which a particular risk for practical purposes is regarded as intolerable whatever the benefit. Any activity or practice giving l'{se to a risk greater than this threshold would be ruled out unless it can be modified to reduce the degree of risk below this level. The line at the bottom, on the other hand, represents a threshold below which risks are considered broadly acceptable because they compare with small risks which do not worry people or cause them to alter their behaviour in any way. When incurred they only result in a very small addition to the background level of risks to which everyone is exposed during their lifetime (typically 1 in a 100). Between the two lines is the region where people will tolerate risks in order to secure benefits. However, this tolerance of risks is buttressed by an expectation that people will be told the nature and level of the risks, and the confidence that the risks are being controlled as low as is reasonably practicable