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This is a page providing background in a specific field of expertise

Safety is the degree of protection of persons or objects against non-deliberate sources of risk or vulnerabilities. The equivalent term used for deliberate sources of risk, is security.

Distinction between safety and security

The distinction between safety and security lies in the type of threat that is at the source of the risk. While security concerns risk due to human intent (wilful harmful acts), safety concerns all other risk. Shortly put, safety concerns protection from accidents, security concerns protection from crime.

This means that whether a measure is a security measure or a safety measure, depends on the type of risk it is meant to mitigate. A reinforced window for example can be both:

  • When installed to prevent harm coming to the inhabitants coming from a gas tank accidentally exploding, it would be a safety measure.
  • When installed to protect the inhabitants from terrorist explosions, it would be a security measure.

A measure can also serve as a security and a safety measure at the same time. An example can be found in a door: the fire-delaying properties of the door might serve as a safety measure while the fact that it is protecting against unauthorised entry is a security measure.

Types of safety threats

The word safety is used in two different meanings:

  • Safety as a encompassing concept referring to all types of threats, including security threats;
  • Safety as a complement to security, including all types of threats except security threats.

In this wiki, we will use the term primarily in its second meaning as safety threats, referring to the following threat types:

Footnotes and references