Safety Management and Its Benefits

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BY: ALEX SCHENK (s2802470) ASSIGNMENT QUESTION “Good safety management is more than just a legal and moral requirement. Around the world, there is growing recognition that safety management systems can improve the operating performance and profits of a Company as well as its safety defences.” ABSTRACT This essay discusses the main aspects of safety management systems and how they are being utilised in various industries around the world. It begins by defining the main issues of safety and safety management systems, and then discusses the features of a successful safety management system. The legal and moral requirements of safety management are discussed, and then the differing ways in which safety management systems can improve a company’s operating performance and operating profit. A number of case studies are then presented which show that safety management systems are being utilised in different industries around the world, and that they are generating numerous benefits aside from the obvious improvements in safety they are targeting.


In many industries around the world, safety management is becoming more and more an integral part of the way business is done. Evidence is building that the implementation of a successful, robust safety management system (SMS) can pay off with numerous benefits to a company’s performance and profitability, as well as providing a safer and more secure environment for workers and the public alike. This essay will define the main issues of safety and safety management, and discuss the main elements of a SMS. The ways in which a SMS can improve a company’s operating performance and profitability will then be covered, followed by a number of case studies from around the world which show the positive results of the introduction of safety management techniques. Safety management and its application to different industries will be discussed, with a particular emphasis on its application to the aviation industry. Safety is a concept which has many different definitions. To understand the subject, one must have some clear definitions of the important terms. In the Australian Standards (AS/NZS 4804:2001), safety is defined as: “A state in which the risk of harm (to persons) or damage is limited to an acceptable level” (Bartsch, 2010, p. 548) . According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Safety Management Manual, safety is “the state in which the risk of harm to persons or property damage is reduced to, and maintained at or below, an acceptable level, through a continuing process of hazard identification and risk management” (p. 2-2). Safety Management is “the application of business management practices to the management of safety” (International Civil Aviation Organization, 2009, pp. 3-5), specifically using the four management principles of PLANNING, RESOURCING, DIRECTING & CONTROLLING to achieve an acceptable level of safety, as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). A Safety Management System, then, is “an integrated set of work practices, beliefs and procedures for monitoring & improving the safety “health” of all aspects of a company” (Bartsch, 2010, p. 554). Safety management is a basic legal and moral requirement for employers. The legal requirement had its origins in Common Law, and is demonstrated in Wilsons & Clyde Coal Co. Ltd v English [1938] AC 57, where the House of Lords determined that employers are required to provide a safe workplace, equipment and systems. This requirement has now been codified in various pieces of legislation in all states and territories of Australia. One of the largest areas of safety management is in Occupational Health & Safety (OHS), and most recently the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 established Safe Work Australia, which replaces several earlier OHS bodies. One of the purposes of Safe Work Australia was to develop a national policy for OHS and workers’...
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