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Today at my company, I was involved in something, and I was unsure if the action we were about to do was safe. Normally in English, I would say something along the lines of "Hey, is this safe to do?". I, however, did not know how to say that in Japanese.

Obviously there come different situations where "is this safe?" could be used that mean slightly different things:

Action: [Picking up a heavy fridge by oneself] "Is this safe [to do]?"

Object: [Pointing at a sketchy looking rope bridge] "Is this safe [to use]?"

When looking in the dictionary I came across 安全{あんぜん}, 硬い{かたい}, and 大丈夫{だいじょうぶ} as options that could possibly work.

Then there is also the option that there is another set phrase that is typically used in this situation to get across the message of "I think there is a possibility this is may cause you/me/us harm, what do you think?" that is unrelated to a word that means "safe" in the dictionary.


I think 安全的 would probably be the form of 安全 that would appear, something like:

このことが安全的だか?

But to me I've usually seen 安全 to mean safe as "in accordance with safety regulations" as opposed to generally unharmful.


I think 硬い could be used in the Object scenario I give since it has a meaning of strong, stiff, sturdy, tough. But I do not think that would apply in the Action case I give.


And as for 大丈夫, of course that could work to ask if the general case is alright. However, I do not think it conveys the same sense that the speaker thinks the reason why it could possibly not be alright is because it is unsafe.


Specific Question:

  1. Is there are phrase/word that is commonly used in Japanese, where one would typically say "Is this safe?" when speaking English?

  2. If yes, is it the same phrase fr both scenarios I laid out above?

  3. Finally, do(es) the phrase(s) specifically convey that the action/object could lead to physical harm, or is that implied based on the context?

  • You could think through the opposite, too, "not dangerous" -- e.g. 危なくない – vlumi Jun 27 at 12:49
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"Safe" as an adjective is 安全だ, which is a na-adjective. "Is this safe to do?" is usually translated as "~しても大丈夫ですか?', "~しても安全ですか?" is less common. We rarely say 安全的, and 硬い as the meaning of a word "safe".

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If you emphasize the "commonly" I think やばい would be good, when slightly colloquially referring to "unsafe". (I.e. meaning is opposite of safe) However, it is also used when referring to something illegal and/or morally wrong. Especially as a foreigner it may be better to be clear and, when thinking something is risky, not ask "is this safe?" but rather "are you sure this isn't dangerous?"

Ergonomics is not yet a very big hit in Japan (but getting more attention), so it would not work with the fridge, though, but would be OK for many other potentially dangerous working proceducers, and would also be OK with the rope bridge.

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