Title: Beyond Likelihood and Consequence: Developing a Systems Approach to Risk Assessment in the Led Outdoor Activity Context
Inadequate risk assessment has often been highlighted as a contributing factor in the injuries and deaths of participants on led outdoor activity (LOA) programs in Australia, and internationally. The field of safety science considers that accidents in complex safety-critical domains (e.g. LOA’s, healthcare, aviation) are caused by a combination of decisions and actions of multiple actors situated across the system, not just by any actors working at the so-called sharp end of practice (e.g. instructor, pilot or nurse). Prior to this program of research, it was unclear as to whether this systems thinking perspective had been translated across to risk assessment practice. To address this gap, a literature review of current risk assessment methods was conducted, followed by a survey of current risk assessment practice, the subsequent development and application of a new systems thinking-based risk assessment method, and finally, testing of the method’s reliability and validity. The studies found that current risk assessment methods and practice are not consistent with systems thinking, that existing risk assessment methods are limited in their ability to identify system wide risks, and that the new risk assessment method (the NETworked Hazard Analysis and Risk Management System; NET-HARMS) is capable of identifying systemic risks as well as emergent risks. Further, formal reliability and validity testing of NET-HARMS demonstrated that risk assessment may be enhanced by involving multiple analysts from across the work system in the process. These findings have important implications for risk assessment activities being conducted within complex safety-critical domains.
Bio: Clare Dallat (MSc. BA Hons)
Clare has been an outdoor educator for over twenty years and has spent the past sixteen working specifically in outdoor education risk management. She has worked in both field, administrative and executive roles with participants of all ages and backgrounds. Clare is driven by enabling young people to continue to experience the power of challenging and meaningful outdoor learning experiences in a sustainable way.
Link to Clare’s Research Items
Clare’s PowerPoint Presentation