PTD Before Risk Assessment: A Historical Perspective
- Michael A. Taubitz (FDR Safety)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- November 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 26 - 35
- 2018. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 2 in the last 30 days
- 27 since 2007
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- Early efforts to design out hazards were sporadic and based on assessments of feasibility. Lack of practical risk assessment methodologies constrained PTD efforts.
- Collaboration of individuals around PTD led to development of risk assessments that could be integrated into daily business in general industry.
- With 2 decades of experience in risk assessment, it is time for collaborative efforts of government, professional organizations and safety professionals to make risk assessment fundamental to the practice of safety.
Prevention Through Design (PTD) and risk assessment are getting a lot of attention lately. Have you ever wondered why and how the ideas for their use originated? Based on its origins, how can PTD help safety professionals identify and reduce risks, and what might the future of PTD be?
This article presents a narrow slice of history as known by the author, beginning with employment at General Motors (GM). It chronicles the foundations and evolution that brought those engaged in the practice of engineering and safety to the current state of PTD in one company. Many forces and efforts have led those of us who are engaged in the practice of safety to where we are in PTD today, but with this article the author presents a glimpse of the fundamental occurrences in one industry that have led to the progressive use of PTD in other industries.
Other companies and industries may have had their own lessons and contributions to the current state of the art. Lack of knowledge prevents providing a broader scope. It is hoped that others will offer their own history and lessons learned to help promote broader and more effective usage of PTD concepts in all industries and academia.
This article will show that before risk assessment innovative initiatives that might currently be considered PTD efforts resulted from collaboration of safety and engineering personnel primarily relying on assessments of feasibility. Applying lessons learned from individual projects was problematic because no practical risk assessment methodologies were in use. The advent of risk assessment for manufacturing in the late 1990s established the foundation for today’s PTD initiatives.
The author’s lessons learned related to PTD are presented throughout the article.
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