The aim of chapter is to provide information on  the common approaches of HSE risk management, and their application and integration when applied to different topics. This enables better interaction with those concerned with risk management and can improve the ability to provide expert health professional input to preventative policies and management. The first part of this chapter provides a broad overview of principles of risk management, while the second includes more detail on the application of occupational hygiene principles to the control of agents hazardous to health.

Risk management is highly relevant to all kinds of stakeholders within modern production, transportation and commerce. HSE performance  is a key consideration  when a company, for instance a chemical company chartering a product tanker or an oil exploration company engages services from support vessels, evaluates a bidder for a contract. In many cases a potential bidder is not even accepted before he has stood a prequalification test. HSE performance  is often a heavily weighted element in such processes.

Furthermore it is obvious that  HSE performance is important to employees and to all those who could be affected by the activities of an organisation. The likelihood and severity of injuries or illnesses and their effects on the working life of each individual and their family is directly related to effective risk management. HSE risk management also extends to protecting the  environment that all living organisms are dependent on, for instance by avoiding oil spills or reducing sulphur emissions in engine exhausts. HSE risk management is of utmost importance for the continuing existence of even large industrial companies. A large company can go bankrupt because of a single accident with major consequences. Even a nation and the national economy might suffer.The importance of effective risk management and the existence of sets of approaches and tools that are common to the management of health, safety and environmental risks, both in the shipping industry and in most other sectors is increasingly recognised by managers and specialist advisers. Such tools are used to manage external Regulatory compliance, internal operating management systems requirements as well as drive continuous performance improvement.

Relevance to shipping

An estimated 90% of world cargo is carried on ships. Shipping operations and seafarers are essential to international trade and the international economic and trade system. As a consequence the quality of HSE risk management in the maritime sector can influence the world economy.