diamond geezer

 Friday, July 22, 2005

Commuting home from work - a Qualitative Risk Analysis

Risk 1: Being in the office
Hazard: Fatal paper cut; scalded by machine-vended hot chocolate; electrocuted by rogue photocopier; tie caught in paper shredder; crushed by toppling filing cabinet; inappropriate use of hole punch.
Risk: Negligible [only about 200 people are killed each year in the UK in workplace accidents]

Risk 2: Sitting at my desk, refreshing a selection of internet webpages in an attempt to discover the latest news on the failed London bombings
Hazard: Repetitive strain injury; long term spinal damage from poor seating posture; eyestrain leading to premature sight failure
Risk: Nil [obviously my employer's detailed health and safety policies protect me completely]

Risk 3a: Taking the lift to the ground floor
Hazard: Plunging to my doom following a terrible accident involving a severed lift cable
Risk: Fictional [these things tend to happen only in Hollywood movies]
Risk 3b: Walking to the ground floor
Hazard: Slipping accidentally on the top stair and breaking my neck in the ensuing fall
Risk: Relatively tiny [there are only approximately 100 annual fatalities on non-domestic stairs]

Risk 4: Exiting the office and walking along the pavement outside
Hazard: Tripped by passing wheelie suitcase; forced to inhale clouds of cancerous cigarette smoke wafting from office doorway; mugged by evil London street-vermin; hit on head by falling scaffolding; approached by charity representative with clipboard and forced smile; innocent victim of drive-by shooting; bitten by giant rat
Risk: Particularly hazardous [as everyone outside London knows, the capital is much more dangerous than where they live]

Risk 5: Using a pedestrian crossing at a busy central London road junction
Hazard: Swept along by crowd of passing French tourists; dragged beneath wheels of passing bendy bus; mowed down by procession of cyclists ignoring yet another red traffic light; suffering lung damage after inhaling ozone and exhaust fumes; crushed by white van accidentally mounting tiny traffic island; tempted to cross road during brief gap in traffic, only to be splattered by speeding motorcyclist
Risk: Unexpectedly perilous [the pedestrian crossing outside Holborn tube station must be one of the most dangerous in the country]

Risk 6: Going home on the tube during a time of heightened national security
Hazard: No, really, I'm not thinking about it (much)
Risk: Still insignificant [compared to the daily horrors lurking on the pavements and streets outside]


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