Risk communication


Risk communication is an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion

on risk among risk assessors, risk managers, and other interested parties (1).

Risk communication is an integral and ongoing part of the risk analysis exercise, and

ideally all stakeholder groups should be involved from the start. Risk communication

makes stakeholders aware of the process at each stage of the Risk Assessment. This

helps to ensure that the logic, outcomes, significance, and limitations of the Risk

Assessment are clearly understood by all the stakeholders. Information may be

available from the stakeholder. The identification of particular interest groups and their

representatives should comprise a part of an overall risk communication strategy. This

risk communication strategy should be discussed and agreed upon between risk

assessors and managers early in the process to ensure two-way communication. This

strategy should also cover who should present information to the public, and the

manner in which it will be done.

Decisions on risk communication, including what, whom and how, should be part of an

overall risk communication strategy. Risk communication is most effective if

undertaken in a systematic way, and generally starts with the gathering of information

on the risk issue of concern. Therefore the risk manager and risk assessor must be

able to briefly and clearly summarize what this issue encompasses, at an early stage,

in order to elicit interest and stakeholder input Communication must then continue

throughout the entire process. Once available information has been used to fully

identify the hazards, and decide on and assess the appropriate risks, then the

preparation and dissemination of this information is required. This will be followed by

further discussion with stakeholders, leading to corrections, amendments, and

additions as appropriate, resulting in the final Risk Assessment and risk analysis


WHO (2012) state that, “Risk Communication is an interactive process of exchange of

information and opinion on risk among risk assessors, risk managers, and other

interested parties” (para.1). The aim of risk communication is to help people at all

levels of society make more informed decisions about the threats to health and safety

(Vaughan & Tinker, 2009).

Risk communication differs from Crisis Communication in that it focuses on what might

happen as opposed to what has or is happening. Risk and Crisis Communication also

differ with regard to when the communication occurs. (2)


See Also: Uncertainty in Risk Communication

(1) http://www.who.int/foodsafety/micro/riskcommunication/en/

(2) TELL ME Project


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