VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 9 CATEGORY: Medicine POSTED ON: 5/25/2010
In 2006, a group of safety specialists and designers gathered in Europe to discuss safety by design -- primarily how to incorporate safety concerns early in the design process. Although the papers address many similar themes by US researchers on the same topic, the ideas presented provide a unique window to viewing the differences between the European Union (EU) and the US on social controls to reduce risk. In the EU, safety requirements in standards are considered upper-level requirements that define acceptable risk. Therefore, compliance with an EU regulation or European (EN) standard carries a presumption of acceptable risk. In the US, compliance with a government regulation or industry standard tends to be considered a minimum performance level and only one factor in attaining acceptable risk. A natural tension exists between a standardized system structured to prevent errors for which solutions are known and a more dynamic learning approach that encourages new solutions to existing problems or application of existing systems in new ways.
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