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Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Definition - What does Computer Aided Design (CAD) mean?

Computer Aided Design (CAD) is the use of computer systems or software to aid in the creation of a design.

A variety of industries utilize CAD software to create accurate models of industrial structures, including aerospace, automotive, and building construction and manufacturing industries. CAD is used to create more easily communicable and accurate designs than handmade renderings can efficiently produce. These renderings act as a transferable form of documentation for a designed material or work space, which makes them an important component of safety documentation.

Because CAD allows designs to be made according to specified engineering data, it is often used to model the function of machines, components, and work environments for safety assurance purposes. These models provide efficient, low-cost simulations for testing whether a product or environment will meet a desired occupational safety standard or fulfill a desired safety function.

Safeopedia explains Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Occupational health and safety technicians are commonly required to use CAD tools in order to provide accurate models and documentation of work environments. A CAD-modeled airplane cockpit can be used to determine whether pilots will be able to safely move around the cockpit in case of an emergency. This allows an aspect of cockpit safety to be evaluated before the manufacturing process takes place. The same CAD design also acts as a valuable source of documentation for safety inspectors to review if a problem arises once the cockpit is in-use.

A prominent CAD company describes its software as a tool for conducting safety assurance functions such as process safety management, a type of design analyses used to ensure that a safety process will prevent the release of OSHA-defined hazardous substances. The U.S. National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) notes that use of CAD may be necessary to ensure that new equipment or systems designed to work in safety-sensitive industries such as mining can be used safely.

CAD is also used in the process of designing personal protective equipment (PPE). Equipment such as protective facial masks must be able to accurately fit to a variety of different face types. The use of CAD allows product engineers to simulate a range of face measurements to determine the size specifications necessary for a given safety product to effectively perform its function. This functional modelling process also allows engineers to design products according to ergonomic criteria for the purpose of preventing the occurrence of workplace repetitive strain injuries due to the use of poorly-designed equipment.

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