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Safety is the state of being "safe", the condition of being protected from
harm Harm is a moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
or other danger. Safety can also refer to
the control of recognized hazards
the control of recognized hazards
in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk.


Meanings

There are two slightly different meanings of ''safety''. For example, ''home safety'' may indicate a building's ability to protect against external harm events (such as weather, home invasion, etc.), or may indicate that its internal installations (such as appliances, stairs, etc.) are safe (not dangerous or harmful) for its inhabitants. Discussions of safety often include mention of related terms. Security is such a term. With time the definitions between these two have often become interchanged, equated, and frequently appear juxtaposed in the same sentence. Readers unfortunately are left to conclude whether they comprise a redundancy. This confuses the uniqueness that should be reserved for each by itself. When seen as unique, as we intend here, each term will assume its rightful place in influencing and being influenced by the other. ''Safety is the condition of a “steady state” of an organization or place doing what it is supposed to do. “What it is supposed to do” is defined in terms of public codes and standards, associated architectural and engineering designs, corporate vision and mission statements, and operational plans and personnel policies. For any organization, place, or function, large or small, safety is a normative concept. It complies with situation-specific definitions of what is expected and acceptable.'' Using this definition, protection from a home's external threats and protection from its internal structural and equipment failures (see Meanings, above) are not two types of safety but rather two aspects of a home's steady state. In the world of everyday affairs, not all goes as planned. Some entity's steady state is challenged. This is where security science, which is of more recent date, enters. Drawing from the definition of safety, then: ''Security is the process or means, physical or human, of delaying, preventing, and otherwise protecting against external or internal, defects, dangers, loss, criminals, and other individuals or actions that threaten, hinder or destroy an organization’s “steady state,” and deprive it of its intended purpose for being.'' Using this generic definition of safety it is possible to specify the elements of a security program.''Charles G. Oakes'', PhD, Blue Ember Technologies, LLC.'
Safety versus Security in Fire Protection Planning
,"''
The American Institute of Architects The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a professional organization for architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection wi ...
: Knowledge Communities, May 2009. Retrieved on June 22, 2011.


Limitations

Safety can be limited in relation to some
guarantee Guarantee is a legal term more comprehensive and of higher import than either warranty In contract A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreem ...
or a standard of
insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. R ...

insurance
to the quality and unharmful function of an object or organization. It is used in order to ensure that the object or organization will do only what it is meant to do. It is important to realize that safety is relative. Eliminating all
risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. Risk involves uncertainty Uncertainty refers to Epistemology, epistemic situations involving imperfect or unknown information. It applies to predictions of future events, to p ...

risk
, if even possible, would be extremely difficult and very expensive. A safe situation is one where risks of injury or property damage are low and manageable. When something is called safe, this usually means that it is safe within certain reasonable limits and parameters. For example, a medication may be safe, for most people, under most circumstances, if taken in a certain amount. A choice motivated by safety may have other, unsafe consequences. For example, frail elderly people are sometimes moved out of their homes and into hospitals or skilled nursing homes with the claim that this will improve the person's safety. The safety provided is that daily medications will be supervised, the person will not need to engage in some potentially risky activities such as climbing stairs or cooking, and if the person falls down, someone there will be able to help the person get back up. However, the end result might be decidedly unsafe, including the dangers of
transfer trauma Transfer may refer to: Arts and media *Transfer (2010 film), ''Transfer'' (2010 film), a German science-fiction movie directed by Damir Lukacevic and starring Zana Marjanović *Transfer (1966 film), ''Transfer'' (1966 film), a short film * Transf ...
,
hospital delirium Delirium, also known as acute confusional state, is the organically caused decline from a previous baseline mental functioning that develops over a short period of time, typically hours to days. Delirium is a syndrome A syndrome is a set of medi ...
,
elder abuse Elder abuse (also called "elder mistreatment", "senior abuse", "abuse in later life", "abuse of older adults", "abuse of older women", and "abuse of older men") is "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any rela ...
,
hospital-acquired infection A hospital-acquired infection, also known as a nosocomial infection (from the Greek ''nosokomeion'', meaning "hospital"), is an infection that is acquired in a hospital or other health care facility. To emphasize both hospital and nonhospital set ...
s, depression, anxiety, and even a desire to die.


Types

There is a distinction between products that meet standards, that are safe, and that merely feel safe. The highway safety community uses these terms:


Normative

Normative safety is achieved when a product or design meets applicable standards and practices for design and construction or manufacture, regardless of the product's actual safety history.


Substantive

Substantive or objective safety occurs when the real-world safety history is favorable, whether or not standards are met.


Perceived

Perceived or subjective safety refers to the users' level of comfort and perception of risk, without consideration of standards or safety history. For example,
traffic signals Traffic lights, traffic signals, stoplights or robots are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings, and other locations to control flows of traffic. The world's first traffic light was a manually operated ...

traffic signals
are perceived as safe, yet under some circumstances, they can increase traffic crashes at an intersection. Traffic
roundabout A roundabout is a type of circular intersection The line (purple) in two points (red). The disk (yellow) intersects the line in the line segment between the two red points. In mathematics, the intersection of two or more objects is a ...

roundabout
s have a generally favorable safety record yet often make drivers nervous. Low perceived safety can have costs. For example, after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, many people chose to drive rather than fly, despite the fact that, even counting terrorist attacks, flying is safer than driving. Perceived risk discourages people from walking and bicycling for transportation, enjoyment or exercise, even though the health benefits outweigh the risk of injury.


Security

Also called social safety or public safety, security addresses the risk of harm due to intentional criminal acts such as assault, burglary or vandalism. Because of the moral issues involved, security is of higher importance to many people than substantive safety. For example, a death due to murder is considered worse than a death in a car crash, even though in many countries, traffic deaths are more common than homicides.


Risks and responses

Safety is generally interpreted as implying a real and significant impact on risk of death, injury or damage to property. In response to perceived risks many interventions may be proposed with engineering responses and regulation being two of the most common. Probably the most common individual response to perceived safety issues is insurance, which compensates for or provides restitution in the case of damage or loss.


System safety and reliability engineering

System safetyThe system safety concept calls for a risk management Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. Risk involves uncertainty about the effects/ ...
and
reliability engineering Reliability engineering is a sub-discipline of systems engineering Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering and engineering management that focuses on how to design, integrate, and manage complex systems over their enter ...
is an engineering discipline. Continuous changes in technology, environmental regulation and public safety concerns make the analysis of complex
safety-critical A safety-critical system (SCS) or life-critical system is a system whose failure or malfunction may result in one (or more) of the following outcomes: * death or serious injury to people * loss or severe damage to equipment/property * environmen ...
systems more and more demanding. A common fallacy, for example among electrical engineers regarding structure power systems, is that safety issues can be readily deduced. In fact, safety issues have been discovered one by one, over more than a century in the case mentioned, in the work of many thousands of practitioners, and cannot be deduced by a single individual over a few decades. A knowledge of the literature, the standards and custom in a field is a critical part of safety engineering. A combination of theory and track record of practices is involved, and track record indicates some of the areas of theory that are relevant. (In the US, persons with a state license in Professional Engineering in Electrical Engineering are expected to be competent in this regard, the foregoing notwithstanding, but most electrical engineers have no need of the license for their work.) Safety is often seen as one of a group of related disciplines: quality, reliability, availability, maintainability and safety. (Availability is sometimes not mentioned, on the principle that it is a simple function of reliability and maintainability.) These issues tend to determine the value of any work, and deficits in any of these areas are considered to result in a cost, beyond the cost of addressing the area in the first place; good management is then expected to minimize total cost.


Measures

''Safety measures'' are activities and precautions taken to improve safety, i.e. reduce risk related to human health. Common safety measures include: *
Chemical analysis Analytical chemistry studies and uses instruments and methods used to separate, identify, and quantify matter. In practice, separation, identification or quantification may constitute the entire analysis or be combined with another method. Separ ...
*
Destructive testingIn destructive testing (or destructive physical analysis, DPA) tests are carried out to the specimen's failure, in order to understand a specimen's performance or material behavior under different loads. These tests are generally much easier to carr ...
of samples *
Drug test A drug test is a technical analysis of a biological specimen A biological specimen (also called a biospecimen) is a biological laboratory specimen held by a biorepository for research. Such a specimen would be taken by Sampling (medicine), s ...

Drug test
ing of employees, etc. * Examination of activities by specialists to minimize physical stress or increase productivity * Geological surveys to determine whether land or water sources are polluted, how firm the ground is at a potential building site, etc. *
Government regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. For ...
so suppliers know what standards their product is expected to meet. *
Industry regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and inf ...

Industry regulation
so suppliers know what level of quality is expected. Industry regulation is often imposed to avoid potential government regulation. *
Instruction manual An owner's manual (also called an instruction manual or a user guide) is an instructional book A book is a medium for recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of " ...

Instruction manual
s explaining how to use a product or perform an activity * Instructional videos demonstrating proper use of products *
Root cause analysis In science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictio ...
to identify causes of a system failure and correct deficiencies. *
Internet safety The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the pur ...
or Online Safety, is protection of the user's safety from cyber threats or
computer crime Cybercrime is a crime that involves a computer and a computer network, network.Moore, R. (2005) "Cyber crime: Investigating High-Technology Computer Crime," Cleveland, Mississippi: Anderson Publishing. The computer may have been used in the com ...
in general. * Periodic evaluations of employees, departments, etc. *
Physical examination In a physical examination, medical examination, or clinical examination, a medical practitioner examines a patient A patient is any recipient of health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health ...

Physical examination
s to determine whether a person has a physical condition that would create a problem. * Process safety management is an analytical tool focused on preventing releases of highly hazardous chemicals. * Safety margins/Safety factors. For instance, a product rated to never be required to handle more than 200 pounds might be designed to fail under at least 400 pounds, a safety factor of two. Higher numbers are used in more sensitive applications such as medical or transit safety. * Self-imposed regulation of various types. * Implementation of standard protocols and procedures so that activities are conducted in a known way. * Statements of ethics by industry organizations or an individual company so its employees know what is expected of them. *
Stress testing Stress testing (sometimes called torture testing) is a form of deliberately intense or thorough testing used to determine the stability of a given system, critical infrastructure or entity. It involves testing beyond normal operational capacity, of ...
subjects a person or product to stresses in excess of those the person or product is designed to handle, to determining the "breaking point". *
Training Training is teaching, or developing in oneself or others, any s and or that relate to specific . Training has specific goals of improving one's , capacity, and . It forms the core of s and provides the backbone of content at (also known as ...

Training
of employees, vendors, product users * Visual examination for dangerous situations such as emergency exits blocked because they are being used as storage areas. * Visual examination for flaws such as cracks, peeling, loose connections. * X-ray analysis to see inside a sealed object such as a weld, a cement wall or an airplane outer skin.


Standards organizations

A number of standards organizations exist that promulgate safety standards. These may be voluntary organizations or government agencies. These agencies first define the safety standards, which they publish in the form of codes. They are also Accreditation Bodies and entitle independent third parties such as testing and certification agencies to inspect and ensure compliance to the standards they defined. For instance, the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers#REDIRECT American Society of Mechanical Engineers {{rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...
(ASME) formulated a certain number of safety standards in its Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) and accredited TÜV Rheinland to provide certification services to guarantee product compliance to the defined safety regulations.


United States


American National Standards Institute

A major American
standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpr ...
is the
American National Standards Institute The American National Standards Institute (ANSI ) is a private non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized ...
(ANSI). Usually, members of a particular industry will voluntarily form a committee to study safety issues and propose standards. Those standards are then recommended to ANSI, which reviews and adopts them. Many government regulations require that products sold or used must comply with a particular ANSI standard.


Government agencies

Many government agencies set safety standards for matters under their jurisdiction, such as: * the
Food and Drug Administration The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is a of the . The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting through the control and supervision of , products, s, and s (medications), s, s, s, s, emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics ...
* the
Consumer Product Safety Commission The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC, CPSC, or commission) is an independent agency of the United States government Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (a ...
* the
United States Environmental Protection Agency The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent executive agency of the United States federal government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States ...


Testing laboratories

Product safety testing, for the United States, is largely controlled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition, workplace related products come under the jurisdiction of the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA ) is a large regulatory agency of the United States Department of Labor that originally had federal visitorial powers to inspect and examine workplaces. Congress established the agency ...
(OSHA), which certifies independent testing companies as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL), see.


European Union


Institutions

* the * the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) * the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) * the European Safety Federation (ESF)


Testing laboratories

The European Commission provides the legal framework, but the different Member States may authorize test laboratories to carry out safety testing.


Other countries


Standards institutions

*
British Standards Institution The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the Standards organization, national standards body of the United Kingdom. BSI produces technical standards on a wide range of products and services and also supplies certification and standards-related ...
*
Canadian Standards Association The CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association; CSA) is a standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose prim ...
*
Deutsches Institut für Normung ' (DIN; in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Worl ...
*
International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task ...
*
Standards Australia Standards Australia is a standards organisation A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, ...


Testing laboratories

Many countries have national organizations that have accreditation to test and/or submit test reports for safety certification. These are typically referred to as a Notified or Competent Body.


See also

*
Accident An accident is an unplanned event that sometimes has inconvenient or undesirable consequences, other times being inconsequential. The occurrence of such an event may or may not have unrecognized or unaddressed risks contributing to its cause. Mo ...

Accident
*
Aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Lat ...

Aircraft
** Air safety **
Accidents and incidents in aviation An aviation accident is defined by the Convention on International Civil Aviation The Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, established the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a speci ...
**
List of aircraft accidents An aviation accident is defined by the Convention on International Civil Aviation The Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, established the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a speci ...
* Aisles: Safety and regulatory considerations *
American Society of Safety Engineers American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), formerly known as American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) until June 2018, is a global organization of more than 37,000 occupational safety and health Occupational safety and health (OSH), ...

American Society of Safety Engineers
*
Arc Flash An electric arc between two Nail (fastener), nails An arc flash (also called a flashover) is the light and heat produced as part of an arc fault, a type of electricity, electrical explosion or discharge that results from a connection through ai ...
* Safety in Australia *
Automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also ...

Automobile
**
Car accident A traffic collision, also called a motor vehicle collision, car accident or car crash, occurs when a vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control move ...
**
Automobile safety Automotive safety is the study and practice of design, construction, equipment and regulation to minimize the occurrence and consequences of traffic collisions involving motor vehicles. Road traffic safety more broadly includes roadway design. ...
**
Traffic safety , curbs and traffic signals in Hagerstown, Maryland, United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America ...
*
Bicycle Classic bell of a bicycle A bicycle, also called a bike or cycle, is a human-powered or motor-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle A single-track vehicle is a vehicle that leaves a single ground track as it moves forward. Single-tr ...

Bicycle
**
Bicycle safety Bicycle safety is the use of road traffic safety practices to reduce risk associated with cycling. Risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. Risk involves uncertainty about the effects/implications of an activi ...
*
Behavior-based safetyBehavior-based safety (BBS) is the "application of science of behavior change to real world safety problems". or "A process that creates a safety partnership between management and employees that continually focuses people's attentions and actions on ...
* Boat ** Boat safety * Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC * Certified safety professional * Child ** Child safety seat ** Toy safety ** Poison control ** Safe Kids USA * Product recall, Consumer product safety * Door#Door-related accidents * Electrical safety * Explosives safety * Fire safety * Gun safety * List of rail accidents * List of nuclear accidents * Motorcycle safety * Patient safety * Pedestrian safety * Private security * Risk management * Road safety * Sailing ship accidents * Safety engineering ** Fail-safe ** Fail-secure ** Poka-yoke ** Software System Safety * Safety statement * Security * Seismic performance * Sports injury safety * Occupational Safety and Health ** Criticality accident ** Safety data sheet ** Personal protective equipment ** Work accident


References


Further reading

* {{Authority control Safety,