Revisiting the Relationship Between Safety and Security

Revisiting the Relationship Between Safety and Security

Nektarios Karanikas 

Aviation Academy, Faculty of Technology, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands

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Safety and Security (S&S) have the same goal, that is to maintain the integrity of human, infrastructure, hardware, software, capital and intangible assets of a system. However, literature and practice indicate that the relationship between S&S has not yet been clearly defined and their boundaries remain blurry. The current paper presents a short review of academic and professional literature about the relationship between S&S. This relationship is examined by looking at the S&S dependencies, their similarities and differences, and the role of the human element in achieving and maintaining the desired S&S levels. The review of literature showed that (1) there is a tendency to emphasize on the effects of security on safety and underestimate the opposite, (2) human factors are not part of security training to the extent are addressed in safety training, (3) security and safety problems can be the result of both internal and external disturbances and agents, (4) the intentionality or not of outcomes, and not of the action, can stand as a valid criterion to classify an event as a security or a safety one correspondingly, (5) S&S issues can result in negative implications internally and externally to the system, and (6) the synergy between S&S is of paramount importance for achieving the optimum levels of system protection. The positions of this paper might comprise a basis for enriching educational programmes around S&S and igniting relevant research.


safety, security


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