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Background and Some General Considerations
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  1. Background and Some General Considerations

  2. The Basic Dilemma in Risk Communication The risks that kill people and the risks that alarm them are completely different Covello & Sandman, 2001

  3. Definition of Risk Probability that damage will occur as a result of exposure to a chemical, physical or biological agent.

  4. Framework for risk analysis • Risk management • Risk assessment • Assessment options • Options for implementation • Monitoring and revision • Risk assessment • Identification of the hazard • Description of the hazard • Evaluation of the exposure • Description of the risk Risk communication Taken from:


  6. Risk management and public policy Decision-making process Legal considerations: operational activities Precautionary Develop-ment of policy options Identify Problem/ hazard Assessment Empirical context Public context Implemen-tation Evaluation and revision Decisions Principle Communication/Consultation Adapted from ADM report, work group on risk management, March 2000

  7. Risk assessment Expert risk assessment HAZARD Public risk assessment (sometimes)) OUTRAGE Risk communicators Risk assessment HAZARD+OUTRAGE Taken from:

  8. Definition of Risk Communication “Risk communication is an interactive process ofexchange of information and opinions among individuals, groups, and institutions. It is a dialogue in which multiple messages are discussed.” National Research Council, 1989

  9. Definition of Risk Communication (Continued) “These messages do not refer only to the nature of the risk, but also to the concerns, opinions or reactions of individuals to risk messages and to legal and institutional arrangements for risk management.” National Research Council, 1989

  10. Effective Health Risk Communication • Determines the community’s concerns and responds to them • Reduces the tension between the community and personnel of the agency/institution • Explains the health risk information more effectively to the communities

  11. Why is Health Risk Communication Important? • It gives the opportunity to communicate health risks in a planned way, while at the same time being sensitive to the needs of the community • It incorporates the community into the process of risk management • It helps to build trustandalleviatesfear and outrage

  12. Risk = Hazard + Outrage Covello & Sandman, 2001

  13. Evolution of Health Risk Communication Stage 1:Ignore the public Stage 2:Explain risk information better Stage 3:Dialogue with the community Stage 4:Include the public as a cooperating partner Covello & Sandman, 2001

  14. Evolution of Health Risk Communication (Continued) Stage 1: Ignore the public

  15. Evolution of Health Risk Communication (Continued) Stage 2: Explain the risk information better

  16. We just have to improve the way we explain the risk • 1 cent in $1 is 1 per cent • 1 cent in $10,000 is 1 millionth • 1 cent in $10,000,000 is 1 billionth • 1 second in 32 years is 1 billionth

  17. Evolution of Health Risk Communication (Continued) Stage 3: Dialogue with the community

  18. Evolution of Health Risk Communication (Continued) Stage 4: Include the public as a cooperting partner

  19. Elements intervening in a Risk Communication Plan • Source • Message • Media • Audience

  20. Situations that call for Risk Communication • Crisis • Care • Consensus

  21. Components of Risk Communication • Trust • Perception • Fear factors

  22. Myths that prevent Risk Communication • We don’t have enough time or resources • We will probably alarm the people • If only we could explain the risks clearly • We shouldn’t inform them until we have solutions • This is very difficult for them to understand • Technical decisions are for technicians to make • It’s not my job • If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile • It’s the activists’ fault

  23. The “DO”s of Risk Communication • Evaluate and improve your communication habits • Share the communication responsibility • Be attentive and concentrate • Grasp the significance of what people are telling you • Observe all the non-verbal signals • Adopt an accepting attitude • Express understanding and comprehension • Listen to yourself

  24. The “DONT”s of Risk Communication • Don’t confuse listening with remaining silent • Don’t pretend to be listening • Don’t interrupt unnecessarily • Don’t make rapid judgments • Don’t turn the discussion into a matter of vanity • Don’t ask too much • Don’t say I know exactly how you feel • Don’t over-react to emotional phrases • Don’t give advice unless you are asked for it • Don’t hide behind the role of listener

  25. It is now recognized by authorities at all levels that deliberate, interactive citizen participation is more effective for risk management

  26. The seven cardinal rules ofRisk Communication • Accept the public as cooperating partner • Listen to the public • Be honest and flexible when listening to the opinions of others • Coordinate and cooperate with other agencies/ groups that have credibility • Meet the needs of the media • Speak clearly and with empathy • Plan carefully and assess the activities