Safety engineering is an applied science strongly related to systems engineering.
Safety engineering aims to insure that a life-critical system behaves as needed even when pieces fail.
In the real world the term "safety engineering" refers to any act of accident prevention by a person qualified in the field.
Safety engineering is often reactionary to adverse events, also described as "incidents," as reflected in accident statistics.
This arises largely because of the complexity and difficulty of collecting and analysing data on "near misses".
Increasingly, the importance of a safety review is being recognised as an important risk managament tool.
Failure to identify risks to safety, and the according inability to address or "control" these risks, can result in massive costs, both human and economic.
The multidisciplinary nature of safety engineering means that a very broad array of professionals are actively involved in accident prevention or safety engineering.