Safe Design

Safe Design is an umbrella term for thinking about safety early in the design process. Ideally, we think about it in the requirements stage before we’ve even begun to design.

Safe design is a process defined as the integration of hazard identification and risk assessment methods early in the design process to eliminate or minimise the risks of injury throughout the life of a structure being designed. It encompasses all design including facilities, hardware, systems, equipment, products, layout and configuration.

Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner

We associate several different phrases with Safe Design, as follows:

Safe Design: Safety in Design

This is an Australian initiative to improve the consideration of safety and human factors in the design of infrastructure and plant. I believe that this excellent guidance is still relevant.

Safe Design, the Full Video

Want some good guidance on Safe Design?  In this 52-minute video from the Safety Artisan, you will find it.  We take the official guidance from Safe Work Australia and provide a value-added commentary on it.  The guidance integrates seamlessly with Australian law and regulations, but it is genuinely useful in any jurisdiction. Safe Design, the Full Video – is here.


“The idea of safe design is it’s about integrating safety management, asset identification and risk assessment early in the design process to eliminate or reduce risks throughout the life of a product,  whatever the product is, it might be a building, a structure, equipment, a vehicle or infrastructure. This is important because in Australia, in a five-year period, we suffered almost 640 work-related fatalities, of which almost 190 were caused by unsafe design or design-related factors contributed to that fatality. So, there’s an important reason to do this stuff, it’s not an academic exercise, we’re doing it for real reasons.”

Safe Design Guidance

The transcript of the full video is here.

ten principles of good work design

“This handbook contains ten principles which demonstrate how to achieve good design of work and work processes. Each is general in nature so they can be successfully applied to any workplace, business or industry.

The ten principles for good work design are structured into three sections:

  • Why good work design is important
  • What should be considered in good work design, and
  • How good work is designed.”


See the latest guidance on ‘Good Work Design’ here; and

“The most effective and durable means of creating a healthy and safe working environment is to eliminate hazards and risks during the design of new plant, structures, substances and technology and of jobs, processes and systems. This design process needs to take into account hazards and risks that may be present at all stages of the lifecycle of structures, plant, products and substances.”

Safe Design Guidance.

Safe Design in Australia guidance here.

Safety through Design, Prevention by Design

Prevention through Design (PtD) [US term], also called Safety by Design usually in Europe, is the concept of applying methods to minimize occupational hazards early in the design process, with an emphasis on optimizing employee health and safety throughout the life cycle of materials and processes. It is a concept and movement that encourages construction or product designers to “design out” health and safety risks during design development. The concept supports the view that along with quality, programme and cost; safety is determined during the design stage. It increases the cost-effectiveness of enhancements to occupational safety and health.


I will be posting more about this soon…

(In Australia, ‘Safety by Design’ is a phrase used by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to promote safer web browsing.)

#Safety #Engineering #Training

Back to the Home Page!