Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Risk Management

Overall Course Objectives

The concept of Risk is an important subject in our society. Regulatory strategies change from Prescriptive rule-based to Risk-based approaches. Our society regularly faces new and sometimes ill-understood Risks
The overall purpose of this course is to provide students with skills and insights for them to relate in a qualified manner to existing and future debates of risk. The objectives are 1) to enable students to undertake a simple risk assessment, 2) to outline the components and principles of a basic risk management programme, and 3) to provide students with key insights so they know some pitfalls and limitations for the application of 1) and 2).
This is an introductory course that favours qualitative aspects of risk management over quantitative approaches. The course introduces the student to risk-based decisions. Particularly situations where information is partial, or events with a low chance of occurrence but with unacceptably large consequence. Participants are introduced to basic methods of risk analysis, assessment and management, to a large extent illustrated by the use of practical case examples.
These cases draw from a diverse selection of specialist topics, e.g. industrial accident prevention, civil aviation safety, marine transport, health care, and natural disaster emergency planning and response, amongst others. The cases are selected because they illustrate or relate to theoretical views on risk that are part of curriculum. Students are expected to know the cases and understand how and why they relate to curriculum.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand and apply basic risk terminology
  • Explain the difference between risk management and safety management
  • Relate in a qualified manner to key propositions on how risk is generated, including, normal accident theory, the concept of a safety factor, intensification and executive failure
  • Explain basic models for accident aetiology, including the Heinrich triangle and Reason’s Swiss Cheese concept, drift of safety factor, and Rasmussen’s SRK hierarchy
  • Carry out basic incident investigation and apply key concepts such as triggers, latent and active failures and organizational processes
  • Apply a basic risk identification technique (SWIFT) and undertake a simple risk analysis and risk assessment
  • Outline the basic components and principles of a ISO 31000 risk management programme and the textbook’s barrier management approach to managing risk
  • Identify key characteristics of accident precursor analysis, explain the near-miss concept, discuss common pitfalls, and relate to the learning-from-past-mistakes approach to risk management
  • Discuss different strategies for risk management, pro et contra
  • Explain the cases that are part of curriculum and explain how they relate to risk concepts and topics presented in course.
  • Identify key requirements to a good written assignment, separate theory and empirical findings, have a very basic understanding of epistemology
  • Relate in a qualified manner to existing and future debates of risk

Course Content

Introduction, terminology, asteroid impact (objective) risks, high reliability theory, the Petrosky’s safety factor concept and drift, Perrow’s normal accident theory, Reason’s barrier model and views on organisational causes, reference-class cases in civil aviation (Dryden, Alaska Airways, Überlingen), Perrow’s intensification, Structured What-If methodology, barrier diagram analysis, risk matrix assessment, risk acceptance criteria, disaster planning preceding Hurricane Katrina and emergency response, epistemology, accident precursor analysis, Wildavsky’s views on anticipation and resilience, organisational learning, accountability and blame, redundancy and reliability

Recommended prerequisites

02402, Knowledge of elementary theory of probability and statistics.
The student should have an advanced understanding of a relevant complex topic within the student’s area of specialisation

Teaching Method

Lectures, students present short subjects to fellow students, discussion of risk-related texts, and discussion of assignments.

Limited number of seats

Maximum: 50.

Please be aware that this course has a limited number of seats available. If there are too many applicants, a pool will be created for the remainder of the qualified applicants, and they will be selected at random. You will be informed 8 days before the start of the course, whether you have been allocated a spot.

See course in the course database.





3 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 02431
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 1
Semester end Week 35
Days Mon-fri 8:00-17:00

7.500,00 DKK

Please note that this course has participants limitation. Read more