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Journal Article

Citation

Weegels MF, Kanis H. Accid. Anal. Prev. 2000; 32(3): 365-370.

Affiliation

Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2000, Elsevier Publishing)

DOI

unavailable

PMID

10776851

Abstract

In the literature, at least two distinct connotations of risk can be found: so called objective risk, defined as the ratio of a particular number of accidents and a measure of exposure, and subjective risk, defined as the perception and awareness of risks by the person(s) involved. This article explores the significance of risk perception and awareness in understanding and clarifying how and why accidents involving consumer products occur. Based on empirical evidence from video-recorded reconstructions of accidents with consumer products, the risk perception and awareness of users in relation to featural and functional product characteristics, and their influence on actual product use culminating in an accident, is addressed. In contrast with what is usually assumed in the literature, the findings show that the majority of the subjects had no idea that they were running any risk of injuring themselves while they operated the product. In several accidents, the product either offered functionalities not anticipated in the design or did not adequately reflect its condition. The implications of the findings for design practice as well as for risk research are discussed.

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