Traffic Stop sign

Take a chance

Nobody lives a risk-free life

Risk is generally understood as an exposure to the chance of injury, loss or harm.

Throughout our lives we come across countless situations that present such risks; they’re impossible to avoid. We often act to limit risks by undertaking a particular action or by reducing or stopping a certain behaviour. Sometimes we do it without giving it much thought – by taking an umbrella if the forecast says it’s likely to rain, for example.

Everyone has some responsibility for reducing risk, from individuals to governments. On the roads, for example, laws about speed limits, seat belts and drink-driving are intended to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, and we all have responsibility for our own behaviour as a driver or passenger.

In the home, people install smoke and intruder alarms to reduce the risk of fire damage or burglary. The same is true of carbon monoxide detectors. In addition, risk in the workplace has become a hot topic in recent years.

Along with conventional risk reduction devices such as fire extinguishers and alarms, attention is increasingly turning to reducing other, less obvious risks at work. This can include supplying appropriate office furniture to reduce the risk of back pain and taking steps to reduce the risk of stress. On a larger scale, national and international government organisations spend a lot of time and money on health campaigns to warn about risks in many areas, from unprotected sex to smoking and from drinking while pregnant to the dangers of drugs.

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About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Number Crunching’ in June 2013.

Health, infection and disease, Statistics and maths
Number Crunching
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development