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What is Safety by Design?

What is Safety by Design?

Safe design principles and standards are commonplace in the physical world, but that was not always the case. It is hard to believe that it has been over 50 years since the campaign to put seatbelts into every car first began. But now when we get into our cars, we almost take for granted that seatbelt, airbags, anti-lock brakes and other protections, guided by international standards, will help keep us safe on the road. Safety is built in – by design.

Watch this video of the eSafety Commissioner. It gives you a brief introduction to the concept of Safety by Design and why it is important in the design and development of online products and services.

Safety by Design

eSafety’s Safety by Design initiative encourages technology companies to anticipate, detect and eliminate online risks to make digital environments safer and more inclusive, especially for those most at risk.

Safety by Design affirms that building safety in – rather than bolting it on – is not only better for people, but also better for business.

Prioritising User Safety

Rather than retrofitting safeguards after an issue has occurred, Safety by Design focuses on the ways technology companies can minimise online threats by anticipating, detecting and eliminating online harms before they occur.

This proactive and preventative approach focuses on embedding safety into both the online products/services and the culture and leadership of an organisation.

Safety by Design emphasises accountability and aims to foster more positive, civil and rewarding online experiences for everyone.

It encourages technology companies to alter their design ethos from ‘moving fast and breaking things’ or ‘profit at all costs’ to ‘moving thoughtfully’, investing in risk mitigation at the front end and embedding user protections from the outset.

As the eSafety Commissioner points out, the online product/service developer plays an important role in shaping the online environment and keeping users safe:

“The technological design and architecture of online services govern how users are able to interact and engage online. The online world is both a facilitator and amplifier of human interactions and while technology may not drive behaviour, it is a medium through which these behaviours can manifest. As such, developers, engineers and vendors of online services play an incredibly important role in shaping online environments and user safety.” (eSafety Commissioner 2019, p. 1)

eSafety’s Safety by Design initiative has been developed through in-depth research and consultation with industry for industry. It provides online platforms and services with a universal and consistent set of realistic, actionable and achievable measures to better protect and safeguard users.


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Safety By Design

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