Safety: assessing harm and risk of harm

Friday, 22 May 2020 12:24 Safety integration
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What is harm?

Harm id defined as “injury or damage to the health of people, or damage to property or the environment”.


What is risk?

Risk is defined as the “combination of the probability of occurrence of harm and the severity of that harm”. This can be resumed as

Risk = probability of occurrence of harm x severity of that harm


What is safety?

Safety is defined as “freedom from risk which is not tolerable”. This means that a tolerable risk is still present. This is an accepted risk in a certain the “context based on the current values of society”.


Occurrence of Risk

When a risk is considered present? Take a look to the picture here below.


What are risk assessment and risk reduction?

The risk assessment is an overall process comprising a risk analysis and a risk evaluation. The risk analysis consists in a systematic use of available information to identify hazards and to estimate the risk. The risk evaluation procedure based on the risk analysis to determine whether tolerable risk has been exceeded.

The risk reduction consists is action or means to eliminate hazards or reduce risks.

“The iterative process of risk assessment and risk reduction for each hazard is essential in achieving tolerable risk”.

The following procedure should be used to reduce risks to a tolerable level:

  1. a) identify the users for the product or system, including vulnerable consumers and others;
  2. b) identify the intended use of the product or system and assess the reasonably foreseeable misuse;
  3. c) identify each hazard (including reasonably foreseeable hazardous situations and events) arising

in the stages and conditions for the use of the product or system, including installation, operation,

maintenance, repair and destruction/disposal;

  1. d) estimate and evaluate the risk to the affected user group arising from the hazard(s) identified;
  2. e) if the risk is not tolerable, reduce the risk until it becomes tolerable.



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