Browse Definitions :
Definition

factor of safety (FoS)

Factor of safety (FoS) is ability of a system's structural capacity to be viable beyond its expected or actual loads. An FoS may be expressed as a ratio that compares absolute strength to actual applied load, or it may be expressed as a constant value that a structure must meet or exceed according to law, specification, contract or standard. 

Design and engineering standards usually specify the allowable stress, or ultimate strength of a given material divided by the factor of safety, rather than use an arbitrary safety factor, because these factors can be misleading and have been known to imply greater safety than is the case. For example, a safety factor of 2 does not mean that a structure can carry twice as much load as it was designed for.

The safety factor depends on the materials and use of an item. Different industries have varying ideas on what FoS should be required. Although there is some ambiguity regarding safety factors, there are some general guidelines across multiple verticals. If the consequences of failure are significant, such as loss of life, personal harm or property loss, a higher FoS is likely to be required by design or by law. When a structure’s ability to carry load must be determined to a reasonable accuracy but comprehensive testing is impractical (such as with bridges and buildings), safety factors need to be calculated using detailed analysis.

Cost is also a consideration. As the FoS increases, the cost of the product also increases, so it may be necessary to determine how much extra it might cost per part to achieve a certain FoS, and whether that is a viable business model. Striking a balance between cost reduction and safety is essential.

This was last updated in May 2018

Continue Reading About factor of safety (FoS)

Networking
Security
  • quantum key distribution (QKD)

    Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a secure communication method for exchanging encryption keys only known between shared parties.

  • Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)

    In security, the Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is a comprehensive framework of all the relevant subjects a security professional...

  • buffer underflow

    A buffer underflow, also known as a buffer underrun or a buffer underwrite, is when the buffer -- the temporary holding space ...

CIO
  • benchmark

    A benchmark is a standard or point of reference people can use to measure something else.

  • spatial computing

    Spatial computing broadly characterizes the processes and tools used to capture, process and interact with 3D data.

  • organizational goals

    Organizational goals are strategic objectives that a company's management establishes to outline expected outcomes and guide ...

SearchHRSoftware
  • talent acquisition

    Talent acquisition is the strategic process employers use to analyze their long-term talent needs in the context of business ...

  • employee retention

    Employee retention is the organizational goal of keeping productive and talented workers and reducing turnover by fostering a ...

  • hybrid work model

    A hybrid work model is a workforce structure that includes employees who work remotely and those who work on site, in a company's...

Customer Experience
  • database marketing

    Database marketing is a systematic approach to the gathering, consolidation and processing of consumer data.

  • cost per engagement (CPE)

    Cost per engagement (CPE) is an advertising pricing model in which digital marketing teams and advertisers only pay for ads when ...

  • B2C (Business2Consumer or Business-to-Consumer)

    B2C -- short for business-to-consumer -- is a retail model where products move directly from a business to the end user who has ...

Close