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Should safety factors replace probabilistic design?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0071-3919
2011 (English)In: Philosophy and Technology, ISSN 2210-5433, Vol. 24, no 2, 151-168 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Safety is a concern in almost all branches of engineering. Whereas safety was traditionally introduced by applying safety factors or margins to the calculated maximum load, this approach is increasingly replaced with probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) as a tool for dimensioning safety measures. In this paper, the two approaches are compared in terms of what they aim at and what they can, in fact, achieve. The outcome of this comparison suggests that the two approaches should be seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. PRA is particularly useful for priority setting and for the effect evaluation of safety measures; however, in most applications, uncertainties prevent PRA from providing an objective probability of failure or value of damage. Safety factorsare indispensible for dealing with dangers that cannot be assigned meaningful probabilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 24, no 2, 151-168 p.
Keyword [en]
PRA, Probabilistic design, Risk, Safety factor, Uncertainty, Vulnerability
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-86243DOI: 10.1007/s13347-010-0003-6Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-80052766944OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-86243DiVA: diva2:500545
Note
QC 20120215Available from: 2012-02-13 Created: 2012-02-13 Last updated: 2012-02-15Bibliographically approved

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