Types of Safety: Functional, Passive, System, Occupational, Product, Personnel, ...


The types of and boundaries between some of the types of safety often used to describe tasks or personnel roles


A range of categorisations of safety is used in various safety standards and organisations to describe the scope, purpose, roles and/or responsibilities of the stakeholders in a safety program.

Some categorise safety into passive safety (which generally addresses matters such as guards, warnings, layout, materials, volumes, etc.) and functional safety (which generally addresses active control systems).

Other categories include product safety vs. personnel safety and system safety vs. occupational health and safety.

Although many of these categorisations may be useful, some have blurry boundaries between them and almost all forms of safety impact upon each other, e.g., a fixed guard on a rotating shaft making the need for an intrusion-detecting shutdown system less critical. AS 61508 "Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems" deals with this partly through the inclusion of two sections addressing other means of providing safety and acknowledging that although they are outside the scope of functional safety, they may impact upon the level of functional safety required.

Savive focusses on functional safety, system safety and product safety, but tends to work and/or overlap with closely-related disciplines (such as occupational health and safety, human factors, reliability, availability and maintainability).

Warning:

Allocating responsibility for safety to multiple parties must be done with care to avoid aspects of safety being ignored and/or duplication of effort.