System safety

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System safety
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System safety is a combination of few elements necessary for a broader look at security. Issue based on technical and managerial skills to the systematic, forward–looking identification, control hazards throughout the life cycle of a project, program, or activity. Important parts of using system safety are analyses and hazard control actions from beginning to end of activity[1].

Traditional approach to security

The advantages of a system approach result from the combination of many elements that can cause early detection of possible threats.

Difference between traditional and system approach to safety it results from the assessment of hazards which should be counteracted. The traditional approach to safety is based on the analysis of threats that have occurred in the past. On this basis, methods are prepared to prevent their occurrence. System safety treats the issue of safety much more widely. Safety program must be perform with defined purpose proficiency, skill and full responsibility according the needs of company[2].

System Definition

Definition of a system is group or a set interconnected, mutually interacting and interdependent elements forming a whole for one specific purpose. The most important part of this definition is the importance of interaction between parts of the system and the external environment in the implementation of specific tasks or the entire operating environment. Focusing on individual elements allows you to determine expectations for possible parts of the system that will allow it to function well[3]. Such a definition of the system focuses not only on its main product or purpose, but also on the surrounding environment and factors affecting it, which may consequently have an impact on safety. System safety also takes into account the possible impact of the system on the environment. The system can also be described as software, procedures, hardware, or human systems integration. Consequently, the security system must relate and be a key part of management to control, prevent and avoid any dangers.

Elements of system safety

Concept of system safety helps engineers to:

  • plan,
  • project,
  • analyze,
  • control,
  • understand,
  • avoid

threats to achieve the highest possible level of safety. Special attention is required when making safety decisions. Incorrect decision or risk assessment results in the cause and effect “Swiss Cheese” model. This model explains that if wrong decisions are made in different parts of the planning, theoretically, it may enter the risk[4]. Communication, which plays a key role, allows to compare and predict possible factors that may cause the occurrence of threats. For most products, services, systems, it is possible to improve the level of security by implementing a security system, starting from the design, planning, through testing, production and use. The goal is to ensure security at every stage of the project, service and product creation by both staff and end users. Especially for customers it is important to ensure that the product they purchase or the service they intend to use will be safe for them.

Root cause analysis in system safety

A potential accident can be detected earlier using a root cause analysis which identifies many possible reasons and dependencies that may cause the emergence of a hazards . This technique was initially used for example in solving IT problems, accident, analysis, healthcare industry. The root cause analysis serves to prevent the same threats from recurring.


  1. System Safety Engineering and Management.1990
  2. Basic Guide to System Safety. 2006
  3. System Engineering Principles and Practice. 2003
  4. Swiss Cheese Model 2006


Author: Mikołaj Kuśnierz