The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 94 (2016) > Issue 7 > Managing Health & Safety Risks (No. 52): Foreseeable risks
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Managing Health & Safety Risks (No. 52): Foreseeable risks

All designers need to take account of all actions (loads) that may foreseeably be applied to a structure over its intended design life. In doing so, they should account for the risk of each load case being exceeded. This is implicitly built into design codes, with material and load factors of safety, and explicitly required in the English Building Regulations for Class 3 structures in respect of disproportionate collapse.

But what constitutes something reasonably foreseeable? Mostly, engineers have to learn this from experience and that learning process ought to include keeping up to date with publicised events describing things that have gone wrong. Certain hazards relate only to particular structures and a risk assessment should be appropriate. Risk assessments should always consider the potential for human error along with the consequences.

Author(s): The Institution of Structural Engineers' Health and Safety Panel