Table of Contents
- What is a Safety Management System?
- Critical elements of Safety Management System
- The importance of Safety Management System
- Who sets the standards for SMS
Safety management is an organizational function, which ensures that all safety risks have been identified, assessed and satisfactorily mitigated. In aviation context,it sets out organizational regulation and activities aimed at promoting and improving aviation safety. Aviation safety management policy has shifted from an out dated traditional reactive basis to a modern proactive, organizational-based focus. Aircraft accidents have become statistically rare events. That does not mean, however, that there is no room for improvement. This report contains material on about sms in the aviation operation and organisations. It aims to discus, how safety management system (SMS) became to play a vital role and the critical elements within the pillars of sms. SMS employs advanced system management theory and practice to drive the occurrence rate of serious safety events down to an even lower level.
The key fundamental concepts of SMS is a systematic approach to managing safety including the necessary organisational structures, accountability, polices and procedures. Further more, the report will discus in details the what safety management system is, the critical elements, the importance, and who are the regulators and set the standards. Safety can be defined as the state in which the risk to harm to persons or damage to property is reduced to, and maintained at or below, an acceptable level through a continuing process of hazard identification and risk management. The terms hazard and risk also need to be defined. Hazard is the condition or circumstance that can lead to physical injury or damage and risk is the consequence of a hazard measured in terms of likelihood and severity.
Safety responsibility is defined as an obligation to achieve a successful conclusion of safety related task by using necessary action, while safety accountability is defined as an obligation to answer for action by demonstrating task achievement and taking responsibility of safety performance according to the specified expectation
It is essential for the company to understand that the OHS targets and objectives require appropriate designation of responsibility and accountability. The designated person should possess appropriate level of skill and resource that suffice the requirement of the responsibility and accountability. The induction program should provide every new worker with adequate training and resources to meet the accountability level.Delegation of safety responsibility is possible as long as it is properly documented, while delegation of safety accountability is not possible because it defines the obligation of the responsible person to demonstrate the satisfactory discharge of his/her safety responsibilities(SKYbrary, 2012)
Many organizations that have adopted an SMS program have realized that the program vital role is necessary for companies and add value to their operation.
The aviation organisation is an industry dependent on service that it provides and therefore aims to achieve production output, and generate return on investment to allow growth and continued operations. Regardless of the usually stated phrase “safety is number one” in reality, like all other industry it concerned with revenue generated, the fact is no aviation organisation has ever been created to deliver safety or even prioritised safety first.
The organisation dose however to some extent concerns it’s self with safety but how effective is that concern remains to be under question mark. Until the recent fact, which concludes that the effective safety management is one of many organisational processes that allows a firm to deliver its service and generate profit. Through positive management of safety, SMS programs have become good business operational practice. SMS stands alongside any other core business management function.
The world has evolved to be more analytical than ever, therefore the cost of a serious aviation accident can cripple an industry and even end the very existence of the company. The need to prioritise safety has never been more vital as the consequences of an aviation safety event can be staggering.As survival becomes the natural instinct for all organisations, success depends on the intelligent allocation of resource to SMS in order for firms to remain operational.Smaller organizations may not have sufficient resources to employ a full-time safety manager. The blunder for companies in terms of safety is often assigning the duties of safety as a collateral function to mid level manager such as Chief Pilots or manager of standards.
These mistakes lead to unintentional acts, which put safety, a secondary priority and a weak safety culture. This can be realised as a clear error especially considering substantial efforts required. Solution clear and obvious requires, genuine commitment from upper level management to position both personnel and financial resources to the critical functionof safety management. The advantages of sms program, implemented correctly and with constant monitoring will enable positive and measurable results.
What is a Safety Management System?
(ICAO) defines in a little more detail, a safety management system involves a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures (ICAO, 2009).
According to Professors James Reason, in his accidental causation model, states that SMS, is the prevention process in the chain of events, which lead to the actual event. Reason uses the Swiss cheese as an example. In the Swiss cheese model an organisations defense against failures are a series of barriers, represented by the slice and the holes, which represent the weakness in the barriers suggesting that the system produces failures when these holes in the slices are aligned.
Similar to the accident causation model, SMS encourages the proactive solution to the practice of safety. SMS is a systematic and continuous management process based on proactive identification of hazards and analyses of their risk. Safety management system requires knowledge of human error mechanism, meaning knowledge of what, and why human errors occur, because human errors account for 60-80% of all aviation accidents (ICAO). The process of SMS is built around four main pillars, policy, Risk management, Assurance and Promotion.
What are the Critical Elements?
Safety management process are in accordance with are pre organized plan. They must be applied in a consistent manner through out the firm. With its four main pillars consisting of 13 critical element places emphasis on hazard identification and risk control and mitigation, before events that affect safety occurs. The critical elements under the four main pillars include:
- Management/ responsibility
- Safety accountability
- Appointment of key safety personnel
- SMS documentation
- Hazard identification
- Risk assessment and Mitigation
- Safety performance monitoring and measurement
- The management of change
- Continuous improvement of the SMS
- Training and education
- Safety communication
Why is it Important?
Safety management system is very essential within all organization in order to promote safety across a wide variety of industrial contexts. Only when the primary mechanism for safety management moved from prescriptive regulation to organisational responsibility was specific practices for organisational safety management collectively grouped together under the banner of ‘safety management systems’.
Safety management system practices forms the strategies by which an organisation could demonstrate and take all reasonably practical steps to maintain and ensure the safety and welfare of employees and others within the organization. Prior to the requirement for individual organisations to adopt a systematic approach to the management of safety, the welfare of employees, and the general public, was generally managed through adherence to prescriptive regulation as set out by government bodies. This so called ‘boots, belts and buckles’ approach to safety management suggested that as long as organisations followed government regulation with respect to technical protection of the workforce, the health and safety of employees was being managed effectively.
Health and safety basically, managed through the powers of the governmental inspectorate ensuring that organisations were adhering to the relevant legislation and regulations. While this approach was deemed sufficient in the early industrial age, by the later part of the 20th century, a number of catastrophic accidents resulting from the complexity of the post-industrial era led to significant regulatory reform that shifted the responsibility from the inspectorate to individual organisation’s management of their unique industrial risk. An organisation’s own responsibility for safety management (beyond adherence to regulatory requirements) was perhaps only first realised after the watershed report of the Robens Committee in the 1970s in the UK (A.R. Hale & Hovden, 1998).
The Robens Committee recommended that an organisation’s management must assume responsibility for the organisational management of risk. This recommendation, and its embodiment in 1974 within the UK Health and Safety at Work Act, set out a philosophy of ‘self-regulation’. Although the terminology of self- regulation remains problematic, this act was innovative in the fact that it included the first requirement for a common law ‘duty of care’ for an employer to ensure, as far as reasonably practical, the health and safety of its employees. Robens saw three important pillars to improved safety performance through self- regulation. These were: 1. Better systems of safety organisation 2. More management initiatives 3. More participation from employees (Reason, 1997).
Safety management shifted in the late 1970s from an approach that focused on adherence to prescriptive legislation, to an approach that focused on an organisation taking responsibility for its own management of its unique risk profile. To this end,
‘Self regulation’ was defined as the requirement for an organisation to ensure that they took all reasonably practical steps to ensure the health and safety of their workforce (Feyer & Williamson, 1998).
This shift in regulatory orientation was driven by a spate of catastrophic events in a diverse set of industry domains. For instance, the 1976 Seveso disaster, which involved a large-scale release of highly toxic dioxins from a small chemical processing plant in Italy, gave rise to the Seveso II directive, which mandated systematic management systems across facilities in Europe that handled dangerous substances (Anvari, Zulkifli, & Yusuff, 2011). A decade later, the Piper Alpha accident in the North Sea saw similar directives put in place for offshore oil and gas facilities as a result of the Cullen inquiry (Reason, 1997).
In this environment, SMS emerged as a conglomerate of safety-related activities that enabled an organisation to discharge their responsibilities under the spectre of self-regulation. Instead of completely walking away from regulation, the role of the regulator has in turn evolved to one that attempts to support and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a safety management system. This change has not only presented challenges to an organisation that now must effectively self-regulate, but also to the regulator who must now evaluate the effectiveness of a system, rather than compliance with a prescriptive regulation.
Who Sets the Standards for SMS?
The International Civil Aviation Organization develops and disseminates standards and recommended practices (SARPs) that are contained in 18 Annexes. The catastrophic industrial accident that happened across many aviation and other related industry led to the development of safety management system.
While the drivers for the development of safety management systems internationally had been catastrophic industrial accidents with widespread social impacts, in Australia, regulatory activity focussed on generic workplace health and safety management. Two Australian standards relating to the design, implementation and on- going maintenance of generic occupational health and safety management systems were developed in the late 1990s and published in the year 2000. First, Australian Standard AS4801 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Specification with Guidance for Use provide the detailed specification, and AS4804 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.
General Guidelines on Principles, Systems and Supporting Techniques provides more general guidance. These standards were heavily influenced by previous directives in the UK and Europe and explicitly aligned with the International Organization for Standardization standard ISO 9000 Quality Management suite of management systems standards. The standards for safety management systems are designed such that they mirror many components of the ISO 9000 series of standards pertaining to quality management systems and the ISO 14000 series of standards pertaining to environmental management systems. Indeed, for some time organisations have sought integration of their management systems in order to gain efficiencies and avoid duplication of processes across an organisation. Even given the very different demands of managing the risks of workplace injury compared to the risks associated with low-probability high-consequence (LP/HC) transportation accidents, the overarching structures, individual components, and major functionality of safety management systems have remained very similar, regardless of industrial context.
The international safety management system (SMS) standards and requirements are structured mainly as objective regulations. SMS are created in a way to emphasize more on what has to be done and how to do it. The main objective of the development of SMS is to create standards with organizations across all kind of industries. The SMS standards are designed to enable the operators of industry and service providers to integrate and develop the safety management practices into their individual operational models for the well being of employees and the company as a whole
Although Safety management system builds upon an organization’s existing safety processes, it is different from the traditional approaches. One of the key differences is that SMS takes a proactive and predictive approach to safety management it goes beyond prescriptive audits and checklist-based inspections to develop procedures and indicators that anticipate safety risks. Safety management system spreads responsibility for safe processes throughout all levels and segments of the organization. This increase in the number of people watching for safety issues makes it less likely that a hazard will go undetected and possibly lead to an accident. Each SMS implementation will have its own customized set of layers that synchronize to create the safety culture of SMS. Each slice has holes that represent the potential for a safety hazard to go unnoticed, because the layer does not deal with that type of hazard, or due to human error.
However, when these layers are integrated by SMS principles, it becomes less likely that a hazard makes it through all the levels without being identified and mitigated as Reason (1997) mentioned on his theory of active and latent. Finally safety management system recognizes that human and organizational errors can never be completely eliminated and seeks to reduce them by developing a safety-oriented culture. Which means emphases on eliminating hazardous conditions before they can become something more serious.
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