Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Safety and Security 

What is Security?

The term safety is broadly used to refer to the protection of individuals, organizations, and assets against external threats and criminal activities that can be directed to such entities hence rendering them inactive. It is important to note that security is highly focused on the deliberate actions that are geared towards inflicting harm to an individual, organization, or even assets.


What is Safety?

The term safety is used to refer to the condition of being protected from the aspects that are likely to cause harm. In addition, the term safety can be used to refer to the state at which one has the control of the risk causing aspects hence protecting himself or herself against risk that is fully unintended.

Difference Between Safety and Security

Definition Aspect

One of the primary difference between the two terms is their definition. Security refers to the protection of individuals, organizations, and properties against external threats that are likely to cause harm. It is clear that security is generally focused on ensuring that external factors do not cause trouble or unwelcome situation to the organization, individuals, and the properties within the premises. On the other hand, safety is the feeling of being protected from the factors that causes harm. It is also important to highlight that an individual who controls the risk causing factors has the feeling of being safe.

Emotional Aspect

The second difference is that the feeling of being safe is an emotional aspect while security has to do with physical aspect. An individual feels safe when he or she is embraced by the loved ones which means that his or her emotional safety has been taken care of. Similarly, young children have the sense of being safe when they are close to their mother or father because he or she provides for both emotional and physical aspect. On the other hand, the aspect of security comes with physical aspects like tall walls that are protecting an individual from external threats. In addition, an individual has the sense of security if he or she has a physical weapon like gun that can be used to deal with external threats.

External Versus Internal

It is important to highlight that security is mostly an external affair while safety is an internal aspect. People looking for security ensure that they are highly protected against external factors that are likely to harm them. On the other hand, an individual within the organization might cause the essence of lacking safety or a party might make himself or herself not to feel safe. For example, security analyst and the forces mandated with ensuring security secure the perimeter of the organization, assets, or even an individual hence shielding against any external threats. However, they are not concerned with the internal aspects. A person might have large security force but may be feeling the absence of safety, especially if he or she does not have peace with personal being.

Deliberate and Unintended

The other notable difference between security and safety is that security is the protection against deliberate threats while safety is the aspect of being secure against unintended threats. People and properties are usually protected against deliberate threats that are caused by criminals who have the intention to sabotage the operations of the company, steal resources of the organization, or harm an individual. This means that security is geared towards the protection against criminal activities that are perpetuated by criminals. On the other hand, the safety of a person is mostly installed so that a person can be protected against unintended accidents. For example, individuals are required to wear safety clothes in an organization that deals with chemicals so that they can be protected against the accidents.


The broadness at which each term covers seems to be significantly different. Security is a major affair that covers a wide area and goes even further to be an international aspect. Countries ensure the safety of their citizens by instilling security measures at the borders and at their airspace. One of the major roles of the government is to provide sufficient security, especially against external threats. Safety does not cover wide coverage and usually involves the premises of a house, company, and institution. It is also essential to highlight that there can be not safety if security is not guaranteed.

Difference Between Safety and Security



Summary Notes

  • Safety and security are important terms that are associated with the protection of a person, organization, and properties against external threats that are likely to cause harm.
  • From the analysis above, it is clear that security is the main aspect among the two terms because safety cannot be achieved if security is not guaranteed.
  • Major role of security organs that include the military and police is to ensure security and safety of the citizens of ach country as they undertake their duties.


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  1. Based on the info that you provide, the table seems to say the opposite. Seems Safety and Security are transposed in the table.

  2. I would like to indicate that comparative table is mistaken. characteristics are in wrong rows. Just check and you will see it.

  3. Safety is related with managing the uncertain incident to accident thereby minimising the hazard and pulling down the mishap whereas security is to manage the uncertain attacks to exploits thereby minimising the threat and pulling down the risk. Safety is focused on omissions of one self and security is focused on act of commissions of others

  4. Jecinta Morgan,
    Thank you for such a good elaboration.
    There is a need for changing the colour in the table of difference at the end. Otherwise its a nice job done.

  5. The graphical table that has been made in incorrect.

  6. Agreed with all the principles

  7. I did not agree with the table

  8. Safety is a cluster of dependent states due to accidents from incidents whereas security is the set of actions taken before and after any event .
    Non Safety leads to mishaps where as unsecured actions leads to risks
    Safety can be measured from the likelihood of a states covering stability, certainty and harm free before the accident but security is the set of actions focusing confidentiality , integrity and availability of any entity during execution.

  9. Yes a very nice article with well educative ideas but in simple term security is inactive measures while safety is proactive measures. Thanks

  10. Security refers to a man made situation while safety refers to a nature based situation.
    example: fire, flood, earthquake, refers to safety.
    Firing, bomb, VBIED, BBIED refers to security.


  11. the article are very helpful for somebody who want to know the difference between the two words

  12. Actually,thanks to these diverse opinions,i could grasp the gist ebwt the dfference btw the two words.Thk you all indeed

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References :

[0]Image credit: https://images.pexels.com/photos/60504/security-protection-anti-virus-software-60504.jpeg?w=1260&h=750&dpr=2&auto=compress&cs=tinysrgb

[1]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/Road_Block_Driving_Safety.jpg/768px-Road_Block_Driving_Safety.jpg

[2]Garfinkel, Tal, and Mendel Rosenblum. "When Virtual Is Harder than Real: Security Challenges in Virtual Machine Based Computing Environments." HotOS. 2005. 

[3]Jahanian, Farnam, and Aloysius Ka-Lau Mok. "Safety analysis of timing properties in real-time systems." IEEE Transactions on software engineering 9 (1986): 890-904. 

[4]Kaufmann, Daniel. "Corruption, governance and security: Challenges for the rich countries and the world." (2004). 

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