DfPS

One should be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.

—Quote often misattributed to ARISTOTLE


From the Preface of the book:
The term Design for Product Safety (DfPS) is coined and used to represent a concerted corporate effort to design-in safety to consumer products from the very start of product conception and design. Proper execution of DfPS should minimize the need for post-production “fixes” to product defects leading to product-safety recalls and other problems. This integrated approach to design engineering should deliver superior results for both company and consumer.

Design for Product Safety (DfPS)

An approach to integrated engineering design in which conscious and active efforts are made to
design-in safe characteristics to products well before they are released to consumers.

Science, mathematics, and engineering formulae are used as far as they can take the designer in creating safe products. Ultimately, however, the design engineer must rely upon engineering ethics in her/his determination on whether or not a product is “safe enough.”

Critical thought and conclusionsnot opinions–are vital throughout the DfPS process.

Compliance criteria are treated as (often) necessary conditions rather than sufficient conditions. Since the book focuses on new, innovative products, engineering-design guidance in the forms of standards, regulations, and other agreements have usually not been created yet. Therefore, compliance cannot be used as a substitute for design criteria for safe products.

Standards are not to be regarded as authoritative and blindly followed by design engineers. Any standard which is poorly written, overly broad, design restrictive, of questionable intent, and written by those without the necessary qualifications should perhaps not be followed.

Engineers are encouraged to “push back” against such any standards or other forms of guidance which interfere with delivering new, innovative, and safe products to consumers.


The objective of the DfPS effort is to design, manufacture, and deliver safe products to consumers
rather than to avoid product liability.

  • These two goals can be compatible with one another—but they need not always be
  • Product-safety engineering, when done properly, is synonymous with Design for Product Safety (DfPS)
  • Furthermore, this book points out differences between product-safety management and product-safety engineering
  • While the former is a business effort, the latter is an engineering effort
  • This should always be remembered so that the one effort is never confused with the other

Engineering Ethics and Design for Product Safety (DFPS), Kenneth L. d'Entremont, 2021, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY


© K.L. d’Entremont, 2021