Thursday, June 22, 2006

Risk Aversion

Interesting article in RiskTec's quarterly newsletter Spring 06. See

There is great concern about risk aversion leading to crazy decisions. Reasons for this vary but fear of litigation, dogmatic implementation of policy without considering its suitability, belief that risk should be eliminated and simply using it as a conventient excuse are all noted.

A list of UK examples is provided

A 73 year old pensioner from Cardiff was ordered off a bus for carrying a tin of water-based emulsion paint.
Children at a London primary school have been banned from making daisy chains in case they pick up germs from the flowers.
Barmaids across Europe may be forced to cover up because of an EU directive on sun exposure.
A district council felled a line of conker trees to prevent youngsters from injuring themselves while gathering conkers.
A girl was banned from bringing sun cream into class during a heatwave in case it caused allergies in other pupils.
Two Christmases ago, a secondary school in Chipping Sodbury banned the wearing of tinsel to prevent any danger of strangulation.
Cakes baked by Radwinter WomenÂ’s Institute were banned from a hospital over fears they could present a health risk to elderly patients.
AA publicann from Taunton Deane was prevented from displaying hanging baskets on the front of the Ring of Bells pub by council officials concerned that some of the
flowers might spill onto the pavement, forcing pedestrians into the road.

Also, from and

Alabama state law prohibits a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.
In New Britain, Connecticut, it is illegal for fire trucks to exceed 25mph, even when going to a fire.
It is illegal in Singapore to drive within 50 metres of a pedestrian crossing the street.
In Evanston, Illinois, it is unlawful to change clothes in an automobile with the curtains drawn, except in case of fire.
In Luxembourg you must have window wipers but you are not required to have a windscreen.
Danish law stipulates no one may start a car while someone is underneath the vehicle.
A driver in Belgium who needs to turn through oncoming traffic has the right of way unless he slows down or stops.
In Thailand, the law requires you to wear a shirt while driving a car.
And finally, although the underlying reasons are unclear, spare a thought for the Swiss, who are not permitted to wash their car on a Sunday.

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