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Systematization of international knowledge concerning “worst-case scenario” approach. General guidelines for application of the approach in purposes of industrial safety
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.
2007 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The intention of this Masters thesis is to analyze the worst-case scenario approach and in doing so gather, summarize and analyze all available relevant information. The current project is limited to purely theoretical research. Due to a lack of order in information regarding this approach it has become very important to systematize information concerning worst-case scenarios.

A couple of interesting alternative approaches and opinions concerning content and usefulness of worst-case scenarios were found during the data collection phase. The ‘Likelier but less catastrophic’ scenario approach is one such example which has raised a number of new questions. Some unexpected difficulties have also arisen; for example, we have failed to find a single specific definition for what is considered to be a worst-case scenario.

Discussion within the scientific world centers on two competing approaches, qualitative and quantitative. Both can and should be applied for worst-case scenarios, however most contemporary researchers tend to overestimate the value of qualitative approaches. It is unclear

which one suits our purposes, but it seems that both are needed for a thorough description of any scenario. This explains our introduction of a semi-quantitative approach.

One chapter of this thesis is dedicated to the study of safety legislation in countries all over the world, indicating that authorities in the United States appear to make the greatest effort to implement worst-case scenario approach in practice, while the legislation of European countries lacks clear definition of worst-case scenarios.

People need different types of information about the potential harm to their locales in case of serious accidents. The information should differ in quantity and content depending on the recipient. For example, technical details of scenarios are of little or no interest to the majority of the population. Moreover they can become a source of danger in case of misuse by terrorists. This is where the public’s “right to know” becomes secondary to safety and privacy


During work on this Masters thesis a large-scale accident in Buncefield took place. Reports of the investigation committee have become a valuable source of data, and a valuable addition to

the Analysis of Safety (Seveso) Reports of three Swedish companies. These reports, as well as information from other sources, have served as a basis for a list of recommendations to companies preparing to analyze potential hazards

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. , 50 p.
Trita-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2007:20
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-32767OAI: diva2:411805
www.ima.kth.seAvailable from: 2011-05-04 Created: 2011-04-19 Last updated: 2011-05-04Bibliographically approved

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