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Safety is the state of being "safe" (from French sauf), the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes. Safety can also refer to the control of recognized hazards in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
Harm is a moral and legal concept.
Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.
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.
Safety can be limited in relation to some guarantee or a standard of 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.
Guarantee is a legal term more comprehensive and of higher import than either warranty or "security". It most commonly designates a private transaction by means of which one person, to obtain some trust, confidence or credit for another, engages to be answerable for him. It may also designate a treaty through which claims, rights or possessions are secured. It is to be differentiated from the colloquial "personal guarantee" in that a Guarantee is a legal concept which produces an economic effect. A personal guarantee by contrast is often used to refer to a promise made by an individual which is supported by, or assured through, the word of the individual. In the same way, a guarantee produces a legal effect wherein one party affirms the promise of another by promising to themselves pay if default occurs.
Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss.
It is important to realize that safety is relative. Eliminating all 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, hospital delirium, elder abuse, hospital-acquired infections, depression, anxiety, and even a desire to die.
Frailty is a common geriatric syndrome that embodies an elevated risk of catastrophic declines in health and function among older adults. Frailty is a condition associated with ageing, and it has been recognized for centuries. As described by Shakespeare in As You Like It, "the sixth age shifts into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose well sav’d, a world too wide, for his shrunk shank…". The shrunk shank is a result of loss of muscle with aging. It is also a marker of a more widespread syndrome of frailty, with associated weakness, slowing, decreased energy, lower activity, and, when severe, unintended weight loss.
Elder abuse is "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person." This definition has been adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) from a definition put forward by Action on Elder Abuse in the UK. Laws protecting the elderly from abuse are similar to and related to laws protecting dependent adults from abuse.
A hospital-acquired infection (HAI), also known as a nosocomial infection, is an infection that is acquired in a hospital or other health care facility. To emphasize both hospital and nonhospital settings, it is sometimes instead called a health care–associated infection. Such an infection can be acquired in hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation facility, outpatient clinic, or other clinical settings. Infection is spread to the susceptible patient in the clinical setting by various means. Health care staff also spread infection, in addition to contaminated equipment, bed linens, or air droplets. The infection can originate from the outside environment, another infected patient, staff that may be infected, or in some cases, the source of the infection cannot be determined. In some cases the microorganism originates from the patient's own skin microbiota, becoming opportunistic after surgery or other procedures that compromise the protective skin barrier. Though the patient may have contracted the infection from their own skin, the infection is still considered nosocomial since it develops in the health care setting.
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 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 or objective safety occurs when the real-world safety history is favorable, whether or not standards are met.
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 are perceived as safe, yet under some circumstances, they can increase traffic crashes at an intersection. Traffic roundabouts have a generally favorable safety recordyet often make drivers nervous.
Low perceived safety can have costs. For example, after the 9/11/2001 attacks, 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.
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.
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 is an engineering discipline. Continuous changes in technology, environmental regulation and public safety concerns make the analysis of complex safety-critical 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 USA, 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.
Safety measures are activities and precautions taken to improve safety, i.e. reduce risk related to human health. Common safety measures include:
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 (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.
A major American standards organization is the American National Standards Institute (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.
Many government agencies set safety standards for matters under their jurisdiction, such as:
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 (OSHA), which certifies independent testing companies as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL), see.
The European Commission provides the legal framework, but the different Member States may authorize test laboratories to carry out safety testing.
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.
The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide.
UL LLC is a global safety certification company headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. It maintains offices in 46 countries. Established in 1894 as the Underwriters' Electrical Bureau, it was known throughout the 20th century as Underwriters Laboratories and participated in the safety analysis of many of that century's new technologies.
The National Electrical Code (NEC), or NFPA 70, is a regionally adoptable standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment in the United States. It is part of the National Fire Code series published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a private trade association. Despite the use of the term "national", it is not a federal law. It is typically adopted by states and municipalities in an effort to standardize their enforcement of safe electrical practices. In some cases, the NEC is amended, altered and may even be rejected in lieu of regional regulations as voted on by local governing bodies.
The standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, ANSI/ASSE Z15.1, defines defensive driving skills as "driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others." This definition is taken from the National Safety Council's Defensive Driving Course. It is a form of training for motor vehicle drivers that goes beyond mastery of the rules of the road and the basic mechanics of driving. Its aim is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. This can be achieved through adherence to a variety of general guidelines, such as following the assured clear distance ahead and two second rules, as well as the practice of specific driving techniques. Some motorists describe defensive driving as "driving as if everyone else on the road were drunk."
Laser safety is the safe design, use and implementation of lasers to minimize the risk of laser accidents, especially those involving eye injuries. Since even relatively small amounts of laser light can lead to permanent eye injuries, the sale and usage of lasers is typically subject to government regulations.
A medical device is any device intended to be used for medical purposes. Thus what differentiates a medical device from an everyday device is its intended use. Medical devices benefit patients by helping health care providers diagnose and treat patients and helping patients overcome sickness or disease, improving their quality of life. Significant potential for hazards are inherent when using a device for medical purposes and thus medical devices must be proved safe and effective with reasonable assurance before regulating governments allow marketing of the device in their country. As a general rule, as the associated risk of the device increases the amount of testing required to establish safety and efficacy also increases. Further, as associated risk increases the potential benefit to the patient must also increase.
A hazard analysis is used as the first step in a process used to assess risk. The result of a hazard analysis is the identification of different type of hazards. A hazard is a potential condition and exists or not. It may in single existence or in combination with other hazards and conditions become an actual Functional Failure or Accident (Mishap). The way this exactly happens in one particular sequence is called a scenario. This scenario has a probability of occurrence. Often a system has many potential failure scenarios. It also is assigned a classification, based on the worst case severity of the end condition. Risk is the combination of probability and severity. Preliminary risk levels can be provided in the hazard analysis. The validation, more precise prediction (verification) and acceptance of risk is determined in the Risk assessment (analysis). The main goal of both is to provide the best selection of means of controlling or eliminating the risk. The term is used in several engineering specialties, including avionics, chemical process safety, safety engineering, reliability engineering and food safety.
Cybersecurity standards are techniques generally set forth in published materials that attempt to protect the cyber environment of a user or organization. This environment includes users themselves, networks, devices, all software, processes, information in storage or transit, applications, services, and systems that can be connected directly or indirectly to networks.
IEC 61508 is an international standard published by the International Electrotechnical Commission consisting of methods on how to apply, design, deploy and maintain automatic protection systems called safety-related systems. It is titled Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems.
Environment (E), health (H) and safety (S) is a discipline and specialty that studies and implements practical aspects of environmental protection and safety at work. In simple terms it is what organizations must do to make sure that their activities do not cause harm to anyone. Commonly, quality - quality assurance & quality control - is adjoined to form the company division known as HSQE.
Airworthiness is the measure of an aircraft's suitability for safe flight. Certification of airworthiness is conferred by a certificate of airworthiness from the state of aircraft registry national aviation authority, and is maintained by performing the required maintenance actions.
A job safety analysis (JSA) is a procedure which helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation. In a JSA, each basic step of the job is to identify potential hazards and to recommend the safest way to do the job. Other terms used to describe this procedure are job hazard analysis (JHA) and job hazard breakdown.
Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory is the term used by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration to identify third-party organizations that have the necessary qualifications to perform safety testing and certification of products covered within OSHA and each organization's scopes. The testing and certification are conducted in accordance with U.S. consensus-based product safety test standards developed or issued by U.S. standards organizations
A traffic collision, also called a motor vehicle collision (MVC) among other terms, occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other stationary obstruction, such as a tree, pole or building. Traffic collisions often result in injury, death, and property damage.
Functional safety is the part of the overall safety of a system or piece of equipment that depends on automatic protection operating correctly in response to its inputs or failure in a predictable manner (fail-safe). The automatic protection system should be designed to properly handle likely human errors, hardware failures and operational/environmental stress.
ISO 40001:2012 Road traffic safety (RTS) management systems - Requirements with guidance for use is an ISO standard for a management system for road traffic safety. The implementation of the standard is intended to enable organizations to improve their traffic safety and to reduce the number of persons killed or seriously injured.
Control system security is the prevention of interference with the proper operation of industrial automation and control systems. These control systems manage essential services including electricity, petroleum production, water, transportation, manufacturing, and communications. They rely on computers, networks, operating systems, applications, and programmable controllers, each of which could contain security vulnerabilities. The 2010 discovery of the Stuxnet worm demonstrated the vulnerability of these systems to cyber incidents. The United States and other governments have passed cyber-security regulations requiring enhanced protection for control systems operating critical infrastructure.
The Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) sector consists of conformity assessment bodies who provide services ranging from auditing and inspection, to testing, verification, quality assurance and certification. The sector consists of both in-house and outsourced services.
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