American Journal of Mechanical Engineering
ISSN (Print): 2328-4102 ISSN (Online): 2328-4110 Website: Editor-in-chief: Kambiz Ebrahimi, Dr. SRINIVASA VENKATESHAPPA CHIKKOL
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American Journal of Mechanical Engineering. 2020, 8(2), 54-60
DOI: 10.12691/ajme-8-2-2
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Safety Definitions: Colloquial, Standards, Regulatory, Torts, Heuristic, and Quantitative

Ralph L. Barnett1,

1Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois

Pub. Date: July 09, 2020

Cite this paper:
Ralph L. Barnett. Safety Definitions: Colloquial, Standards, Regulatory, Torts, Heuristic, and Quantitative. American Journal of Mechanical Engineering. 2020; 8(2):54-60. doi: 10.12691/ajme-8-2-2


Scholars of every stripe have confessed that they cannot define pornography; but they know it when they see it. This unsatisfactory state-of-affairs is trivial compared to defining safety. Safety presents cascading levels of subjectiveness each of which defies definition. The current definitions of safety disguise our ignorance and deprive us of both certainty and objectivity. Indeed, as the field of safety continues to exist in a “research-free zone” we are all trying to be the one-eyed man in the valley of the blind. This paper considers colloquial, legal, and technical definitions of safety; all are useful, none are satisfactory. Even worse, none of the definitions pass the idiomatic “laugh test.”

safety philosophy safety definition risk risk assessment

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