Risk assessment is one part of a three stage process, the risk analysis. In addition to risk assessment, risk analysis involves risk management and risk communication.
Risk assessment is a scientific process which includes hazard identification, hazard characterisation, exposure assessment and risk characterisation. Risk assessment can be quantitative or qualitative. The result of quantitative risk assessment is presented by way of quantitative, numeric assessments. Qualitative risk assessment can include quantitative parts (numeric values, mathematical methods), but the result is presented in words.
A risk profile is narrower in its scope than a risk assessment. In a risk profile, the risk factors and information gaps related to the subject are identified and characterized. Based on the risk profile, a risk management decision can be made or, if this is not possible based on the profile, a decision to carry out a risk assessment can be made.
The risk assessment is carried out in co-operation with the ordering party, industry, research and authorities. These parties give their expert input into to the process, but the actual conclusions are drawn independently by the risk assessor.
Risk management is a separate process from risk assessment. The results of risk assessment or risk profiling can be used as support for risk management and decision-making, for example for the preparation of legislation.
Risk communication is mainly a dialogue between risk management and risk assessment during the assessment of the risk. It also includes the communication of the results of the risk assessment to the authorities, the enterprises and the researchers. The Risk Assessment Research Unit carries out the risk communication in co-operation with Finnish Food Auhtority’s communication.