Like all humans, systems too, come with inherent defects and flaws. It is often jocularly remarked that the only way to have a flawless system is to not create it at all! If it is given that systems have to necessarily come with faults, then that leaves systems professionals in a quandary: not build a system at all, or build one with flaws. There is one reasonable way out of this Catch 22 situation: System Safety Engineering.
System Safety Engineering is about minimizing defects
As we have just seen, there can be no system without a fault. There is, however, a way out of the predicament just mentioned: bring the defects down to a minimum. This is essentially what System Safety Engineering consists of.
Engineering, in whatever base form, has been the core force of technology. In a broad sense, its origins can be traced to the time early man build implements for hunting and other purposes. Again, in a broad sense, System Safety Engineering can also be said to have originated with the first attempts to improve these tools.
System Safety Engineering has grown alongside technology
This explains the very origins of this discipline, but its evolution into a more structured branch of engineering happened only with the advent of the modern times, when engineering became more advanced and scientific. With this development, System Safety Engineering has taken root as a scientific method that not only builds, but also analyzes issues and problems. Into it, System Safety Engineering built the ability of predicting the effectiveness of solutions that were in the process of emerging. As a result, System Safety Engineering has developed with modern technology.
This is a very generic description of System Safety Engineering; its applications are extremely wide and span the whole range of areas of engineering, be it aerospace, mechanical, nuclear, chemical or just about any other branch.