What is YOUR definition of SAFE?

Many of us, myself included, use the word SAFE (and unsafe) in our writings and discussions. If you work in the Safety Management field, it is likely even in your job title.

What I find amusing and sometimes disturbing is that when challenged about their definition of the word “SAFE” people in the Safety Profession often stumble and stutter when it comes to providing THEIR definition.

Here are some On-Line Definitions of the word SAFE which, for the most part, are illogical when used in the context of behaviour since many definitions include a reference to the absolutes in our language (ALL and NO). For example “free from harm or risk.” FREE obviously being an absolute. This state is simply impossible.


Equally impossible is “Protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost.”



How can a person or thing be “not exposed to danger or risk? Risk is everywhere. It’s illogical to expect a state of NO risk for a living human or a thing in our known universe.

So if one is to use the words “Safe” and/or “Unsafe” it’s important at least understand what YOU mean when you use the word.

When I use the word,  I mean:
“Doing what needs to be done (work or play) without unnecessary risk”

Then I go about defining Risk:


So if you are going to use the word you should at least know what YOU mean when you use the words SAFE & UNSAFE