Video: Health and Safety in Experiments

Which of the following statements best corresponds to the meaning of “severity” as used in the design of scientific experiments? [A] Severity is the estimated probability of an event that would cause harm to occur. [B] Severity is a potentially harmful event. [C] Severity is an activity where a harmful event may occur. [D] Severity is the seriousness of the harm that results from a harmful event.

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Video Transcript

Which of the following statements best corresponds to the meaning of “severity” as used in the design of scientific experiments? A) Severity is the estimated probability of an event that would cause harm to occur. B) Severity is a potentially harmful event. C) Severity is an activity where a harmful event may occur. D) Severity is the seriousness of the harm that results from a harmful event.

Okay, so the word severity basically means how severe or how bad something is. Now in this case, we’re talking about the severity of hazards, which we’d have to face when conducting scientific experiments. So looking at option A as a possible answer, this one says that the severity of a hazard is the estimated probability of an event that would cause harm to occur. Well, this is not a correct definition because the estimated probability of a harmful event is simply the risk of that event occurring.

So let’s move on to option B then. Option B says that severity is a potentially harmful event. Well, this doesn’t make sense either because this doesn’t say anything about how bad the effects of that harmful event would be. That’s what we’re trying to aim for when we’re talking about severity. And hence, B is not the answer we’re looking for either. Moving on to option C then, this one says that severity is an activity where a harmful event may occur. Once again, this says nothing about how bad the harmful event would be.

And in fact, options B and C look a little bit like the definition of the word hazard. A hazard is any potential source of damage, harm, or adverse health effects on someone or something. And so option C also doesn’t look like the definition for severity of a hazard.

So let’s finally look at option D. Option D says severity is the seriousness of the harm that results from a harmful event. Now, this is exactly what we’re looking for. This option talks about the seriousness or how bad the effects from the harmful event would be. Or in other words, how severe the effects from the harmful event would be.

And hence, the statement which best corresponds to the meaning of severity is that “severity is the seriousness of the harm that results from a harmful event.”

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