Safety & Risk

This course in the minor Responsible Innovation gives insight into how risk and safety can be managed responsibly, how responsible decision-making should take risk and safety into account, and how safety and risk relate to other domains such as, sustainability, governance, performance management, ethics, resilience, vulnerability, and high-reliable (mindful) organizing.

Course Description

How dealing with uncertainty as an integral part of decision making – e.g., using Bayesian methodologies – and risk governance, will be discussed. Safety and risk will be approached from the level of a project team, a company, and of an entire economic system. Different safety domains will be addressed by several experts in the field. Assignments will be given to further internalize the concepts, methods and techniques and to gain more insight into many aspects regarding risk and safety. The principles of a Safety Management System (SMS) will give structure to both lectures and assignments and will guide the student through the three system levels (policy, organisational, and team or individual level). Topics that will be discussed are: policy & regulation, safety culture, planning and implementing, risk measurement, performance review (and accident investigation), learning. Special attention will be given to various academic skills such as literature research, academic writing and data collection techniques.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction and Basic Concepts
  2. Safety Design Concepts
  3. Systems Approach to Safety
  4. Safety and Humans: Culture and Behaviour
  5. Safety in Organisations: Safety and Risk Management
  6. Safety and Risk in Society: Individual and Group Risk, ALARA and Risk Perception
  7. The Safe Engineer: Practitioners’ Views

Also, Workshops on Safety & Risk Methods and Techniques: HaZOP, Bow-Tie, Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Accident Investigation

Learning Objectives

After taking this course the student will be able to:

  • Recognise basic principles of the risk/uncertainty- and safety sciences in topical subjects;
  • Distinguish the various aspects of risk and safety that have to be taken into account when designing a system;
  • Apply directives for collective and individual risks and risk standards (a.o. machine directive) and identify the problems associated with the development and application of these directives;
  • Understand the (close) connection between humans and safety;
  • Have insight into the role of and decision making around risk in society;
  • Apply models from the books ‘Engineering Risk Management’ and ‘Risk, an introduction’;
  • Apply several risk and safety analysis methods.


  • 30 % of the grade: be present and engage in all sessions; publish your research on collaborative research platform in an accessible manner for other students and external stakeholders; and give a presentation of your work for a larger audience.
  • 30% of the grade: Complete three assignments using methods discussed in the workshops.
  • 40% of the grade: Individual Essay based on safety science literature.

Re-sit: to be discussed with individual students in line with examination regulations. The re-sit assignment has to be done within a month after completion of the assignment it is a re-sit for.

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