Around 30-40 years ago risk assessment and management was established as a scientific field, although even today some argue that risk management should be regarded as an art. While many advances have been made both in theory and practical procedures, the principles and methods developed back then represent the foundation for how today we conceptualize, manage and assess risk.
As recent as 2015, the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) attempted a set of unified definitions by allowing for different perspectives on fundamental concepts and distinguishing between overall qualitative definitions and proposed measurements.
In summary the risk definition from SRA would be:
Consider a future activity, for example the operation of a system, and define risk in relation to the consequences of this activity with respect to something that humans value. The consequences are often seen in relation to some reference values (planned values, objectives, etc.), and the focus is normally on negative, undesirable consequences. There is always at least one outcome that is considered as negative or undesirable.
The risk field has evolved simultaneously in two directions. : the practical aspects of risks in specific activities and the scientific definition of risk where concepts, theories, frameworks, approaches, principles, methods and models are developed with the two fold goal of a) understanding, assess and characterize, and b) communicate and manage risk ( Aven & Zio, 2014; SRA, 2015b ).
In 1983 in heir book “Risk analysis and its application”, Hertz and Thomas present a model showing the links between facts and values in risk decision-