Abstract Since the birth of robotics, the safety is the most important problem with the development of robot technology. At present, the robotics is developing along with the direction of multi-sensory, independent decision and execution ability, and the working space of the robot is gradually extended to the unstructured environment of human production and life. What’s more, the human-robot harmony and cooperation become the essential characteristics of the next generation robotics. Compared with the traditional industrial robot, the cooperative robot breaks the previous safe production mode which the human and the robot is separated, and the work scene the robot can runing in and the task the robot can execute are more abundant, so the formulation and implementation of relevant safety specification is also more complex. Facing with the booming market of cooperative robot which also urgent need to regulate, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also launch a safety specification for cooperative robots in recent years. This safety specification has not yet become the formal safety specification, this paper review the safety standards of traditional industrial robots based on the text of this safety specification, and find out the difference and relationship between the new safety specification and the old one. In addition to unscrambling the key content such as the four kind of cooperating operational, this paper also refer to other safety standards and related documents and arise the concept of robot’s safety and risk, abstrac the intrinsic of existing standards of robot safety, and provide the general guidelines to the safety of the cooperative robot. In the end, some enlightenment are given for the design of cooperative robots, especially for the design of ontology, and forecast the future development of the next generation robotics which has the characteristic of human-robot harmony.