Public Safety

For CDA Members 

CDA uses the term "public safety around dams" to refer to the risks of accidents or incidents in which a member of the public encounters a hazard created by the presence or operation of a dam. This does not include the risks to the public from failure of a dam (this is called "dam safety"), or situations related to passage of floods (emergency management), or hazards to workers in the workplace (occupational safety).

It is worth noting that large or high dams command a respect from members of the public that may be greater than that which exists for low structures. However, low head and small diversion dams can be equally or more hazardous, because many of the hazards associated with these structures are not readily apparent. 

Public Safety Working Group

A working group has been formed under the oversight of the Dam Safety Committee. The group is made up of CDA members who are experienced in public safety risk assessments and have been trained as presenters for the workshops on Public Safety.

This group will provide instruction at future workshops and will consider revisions to the Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams. Since individual advice and instruction cannot be provided by the Working Group except in a formal workshop, if you have a question that might be of interest to others, you are invited to submit it to From time to time, the Working Group will prepare and publish clarifications.


In 2011, CDA published Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams in English and French. For more information, see the PUBLICATION tab at the top of the page. 

The English version of these Guidelines has several errors, mainly in the French signage examples. An Errata sheet can be downloaded from the link at the left.


Professional Development

As a member society of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), CDA is recognized as a quality provider of professional development to the engineering community.

CDA offers an intensive 2-day Public Safety Workshop to educate small groups on the risk assessment process outlined in Guidelines for Public Safety Around Dams. See the Events tab or contact the Executive Director to inquire about a workshop in your location.