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16 Examples of Safety

 , February 02, 2016 updated on October 09, 2021
Safety is the reduction or minimization of risks to human health. This includes practical controls that are win-win such as reasonable regulations that make products or workplaces safer. Safety can also be a contentious issue where safety controls interfere with other goals in areas such as the human experience, culture or economic production. The following are illustrative examples of safety.

Workplace Safety

Laws, regulations, standards, controls, best practices and culture designed to prevent workplace related injuries and health problems. Many jobs expose workers to significant physical, biological and psychosocial hazards such that robust workplace safety saves lives and prevents debilitating injury.

Consumer Protection

Developed nations typically regulate the health and safety risks associated with products. This includes risks such as contaminated or unhealthy food, dangerous chemicals and hazardous products.

Transportation Safety

The laws and regulations that apply to transportation systems and infrastructure such as roads and airlines.


Standards in areas such as construction, product design or workplace safety that can be used to scale good practices across an industry.

Human Error

Human error is the study of how accidents and incidents can be caused by human behavior such as inattention while driving. Generally speaking, most accidents involve some form of human error.

Latent Human Error

As human error can be reasonably expected to occur, it is not acceptable to simply blame people when things go wrong. Processes, procedures, machines, equipment, vehicles and user interfaces can be designed to prevent human error or minimize its impact. Where a process fails to consider human error -- the process is the true cause of human error not the humans themselves. For example, an aircraft maintenance process may include a large number of manual double-checks and automated validations such that no single human can cause a serious problem. A system that fails to consider human error is known as a latent human error.

Safety by Design

Designing things to be inherently safe. For example, a power tool with a dead man's switch whereby a human must continually apply pressure to a switch to activate the tool. This causes the machine to automatically turn off if something happens to the operator and removes the temptation to leave the tool running unattended.

Safety Engineering

The use of engineering to make things safe. For example, a building that is designed to be extremely resilient to earthquakes and strong winds.

Risk Management

Risk management is the process of identifying risks and taking steps to treat them. This can include steps to accept, mitigate and reduce safety risks.

Risk Minimization

Risk management should not be confused with risk minimization. It is can be extraordinarily expensive to minimize a risk such that it is more common to reduce risk to some acceptable level. Likewise, it is possible to simply accept a risk without reducing it.

Risk Taking

Risk taking can benefit risk reduction, particularly in the long term. For example, when humans first accomplished powered flight, it was inherently dangerous. With time, aircraft were improved to become safer per mile of travel than many other modes of transport. Excessive retreat from reasonable risk can backfire.


Resilience is an alternative or complement to the risk management approach of identifying specific risks and working to reduce them. Resilience cultivates or designs things to be inherently strong and resistant to stresses. For example, formulating foods from ingredients that are known to be safe and healthy as opposed to experimenting with complex novel ingredients that require extensive risk analysis.

Precautionary Principle

The precautionary principle is the principle that the burden of proof is on the side of producers to show that their products are safe. This is used to counter the historical situation where dangerous and unhealthy products were launched to market and left on the market for decades because it took this long to build and accept 100% proof that they were dangerous.

Dread Risk

A dread risk is a risk that people strongly fear such that they will pay a very high cost to reduce it. This can become quite irrational whereby larger secondary risks are created due to excessive fear.

False Dichotomy

A false dichotomy is the invalid assertion that two things are a trade-off such that you can't have both. This can come up in risk management, particularly when dealing with dread risk. For example, the assertion that you can't manage a risk without giving up freedoms when there may be other ways to manage it.


Paternalism is a situation where a government, large corporation or similar bureaucracy treats adults as having low agency whereby they are viewed as incapable of making their own choices in life. This is often related to safety and security whereby a government bureaucracy charged with reducing or minimizing risk may try to implement aggressive controls that place significant limits on rights and freedoms. For example, a city that bans a sport because someone got injured whereby they don't allow people to make their own choices regarding risk.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about risk.
AI Risk
Risk Avoidance
Brand Risk
Budget Risk
Business Risks
Change Risk
Compliance Risk
Concentration Risk
Cost Risk
Country Risk
Credit Risk
Demand Risk
Dread Risk
Economic Risk
Exchange Rates
Existential Risk
External Risk
Financial Risk
Force Majeure
Good Risk
Health & Safety
Human Error
Risk Identification
Infinite Risk
Inflation Risk
Inherent Risk
Interest Rates
Internal Risks
Investing Risk
Legal Risk
Liquidity Risk
Model Risk
Natural Disasters
Negative Risk
Operations Risk
Passive Risk
Personal Risk
Political Risk
Process Risk
Procurement Risk
Product Risk
Project Risk
Pure Risk
Quality Risk
Risk Mitigation
Refinancing Risk
Regulatory Risk
Reputational Risk
Residual Risk
Resource Risk
Revenue Risk
Risk Appetite
Risk Aversion
Risk Examples
Risk Management
Risk Management Process
Risk Matrix
Risk Meaning
Risk Measurement
Risk Taking
Risk Tolerance
Risk Triggers
Risk vs Issue
Risk vs Opportunity
Risk vs Uncertainty
Risk-Reward Ratio
Seasonal Risk
Secondary Risk
Security Risk
Settlement Risk
Risk Sharing
Speculative Risk
Strategic Risk
Strategy Risk
Supply Risk
Systemic Risk
Tactical Risk
Taxation Risk
Technology Risk
Risk Transfer
Unforced Error
Upside Risk
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