Risk Communication Strategies for Risk Situations

This page outlines risk communication approaches as outlined in the OECD guidance document on risk communication for chemical risk management for various risk situations. These risk situations include:

  • Routine risk situations
  • Risks with high uncertainty
  • Risks with potential for controversy

Routine Risk Situations

Routine Risk Situations are where the risks and potential consequences are known.

Table 1: Risk Communication Approaches to use in cases of routine risks

Stage in Risk Management Process
 

Audiences

 

Individual & General Public

 

Media

 

Institutional Stakeholders

Stage 1: Problem Identification

  • Brochures and written leaflets.
  • Pre-test of the material or disclosure procedures.
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
 
  • Public presentations and discussion.

Stage 2: Setting up the Risk Management Objectives

  • surveys and focus groups;
 
  • Public presentations and discussion
  • Round Tables

Stage 3: Making Recommendations

  • Brochures and written leaflets;
  • Public presentations and discussion;
  • Exhibitions, educational fairs, participation in science center, visits to schools.
  • Press Release.
  • Public presentations and discussion.
  • Round Tables.

Stage 4: Implementation and Evaluation

  • survey and polls.
  • Internet chat rooms.
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.

Risks with High Uncertainty

Risks with high uncertainty are where risks, including health impacts, are less known and may lead to consequences that are not fully understood.

Table 2: Risk Communication Approaches to use in cases of high uncertainty

Stage in Risk Management Process
 

Audiences

 

Individual & General Public

 

Media

 

Institutional Stakeholders

Stage 1: Problem Identification

  • Brochures and written leaflets.
  • Internet website materials.
  • Public presentations and discussion;
  • Pre-test of the material or disclosure procedures
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
 
  • Round Tables.

Stage 2: Setting up the Risk Management Objectives

  • surveys and focus groups.
  • Citizen advisory committees
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Expert hearing
  • Expert committees

Stage 3: Making Recommendations

  • Brochures and written leaflets;
  • Internet website materials.
  • Public presentations and discussion;
  • Pre-test of the material or disclosure procedures
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Press Release.
  • Press conferences
  • Expert consensus conference
  • Delphi exercises

Stage 4: Implementation and Evaluation

  • survey and polls.
  • Internet chat rooms.
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Experimental designs
  • Supervision and training

Risks with high potential for controversy

Risks with high potential for controversy are those that trigger highly controversial or emotional responses regardless of the certainty for effect.

Table 3: Risk Communication Approaches to use in cases of risks with high potential for controversy

Stages in Risk Management Process
 

Audiences

 

Individual & General Public

 

Media

 

Institutional Stakeholders

Stage 1: Problem Identification

  • Brochures and written leaflets.
  • Internet website materials.
  • Public presentations and discussion;
  • Pre-test of the material or disclosure procedures
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Press Release
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Stakeholder hearings

Stage 2: Setting up the Risk Management Objectives

  • Citizen consensus conferences
  • Citizen panels, planning cells, or citizen juries
  • Press Release
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Expert hearing
  • Expert committees
  • Expert consensus conference
  • Delphi exercises

Stage 3: Making Recommendations

  • Brochures and written leaflets;
  • Internet website materials.
  • Public presentations and discussion.
  • Exhibitions, educational fairs, participation in science center, visits to schools.
  • Experimental designs.
  • survey and polls.
  •  Internet chat rooms.
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Mediation (arbitration, alternate dispute resolution methods)

Stage 4: Implementation and Evaluation

  • Experimental designs
  • survey and polls.
  • Internet chat rooms.
  • Supervision and training.
  • Systematic feedback from users of communication material.
  • Experimental designs.
  • Supervision and training.

 

 

References:

Adapted from OECD Guidance Document on Risk Communication for Chemical Risk Management

Hatfield Consultants The World Bank funded by the Canadian POPs Trust Fund through the      
Canadian International Development Agency
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