An evaluation of the effects on safety of using safety standards in major hazard industries

To protect people from hazards it is common to use safety standards. There is a general understanding in the literature that such standards will contribute to improved safety. In this paper we discuss this issue when several safety measures are present and safety standards apply to a subset of these alternatives. We show that the use of safety standards does not always give the expected effect on safety, as the implementation of safety standards for some measures can reduce investments in safety measures not affected by the standards. If the restrictions are sufficiently strong, the safety standards may lead to a reduction in overall safety. Our starting point focuses on major hazard industries, but our discussion is to a large extent general and could also be applied in other areas.

Source :
Eirik Bjorheim Abrahamsen , Frank Asche , Maria Francesca Milazzo. Safety Science, Nov. 2013, Vol. 59, p. 173–178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2013.05.011

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