AAP element 1

Management commitment, responsibility, control and review

Simply put – management need to ‘Walk the Walk’ if they desire an effective SMS. The genuine intent to establish and run the SMS needs to transmitted throughout the organisation and the commitment needs to be transparent.

Establishing a team to manage safety, providing adequate resources, including it in the management structure and providing training and communication about the SMS are all clear signs to the workforce of management’s commitment to the SMS.

Writing a safety policy, establishing a fair and just culture, and working towards safety objectives clearly enunciates to the whole organisation that management are committed to safety.

‘The workers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’

(Translation from team leaders manual – USSR 1980)

The safety policy

Having an unambiguous and highly visible safety policy makes it clear to all of the workforce how the business of safety is prioritised in the organisation. It should include:

  • The overall safety objectives of the organisation
  • Management commitment to achieving these objectives
  • The resources that are required to achieve safety management
  • Responsibility and accountability at all levels to achieve safety management
  • The specific commitment and belief in a fair and just culture.

The safety policy may refer to other company policies.  For example, QMS, WHS, environmental or security management systems. When written, the safety policy needs to be prominently displayed, visible for the whole workforce, and systematically reviewed and amended to reflect current work practices.

Management commitment to a fair and just culture

The Just Culture policy is used to fairly assess whether an error or rule breaking has occurred, taking into consideration the influence of system factors, so that the organisation can establish what corrective actions should be taken. To ensure the fair treatment of persons involved, it is essential that those tasked with determining whether an error or rule breaking has occurred have the necessary technical expertise so that the context of the event may be fully considered. (CASA AC119-01 v1.1 Para 5.1.6)

Prof James Reason (1997) - A decision tree for determining culpability for unsafe acts (Page 209)
Prof James Reason (1997) – A decision tree for determining culpability for unsafe acts (Page 209)

Link to Safety Culture

Roadmap to just_culture (Download PDF)

Hudson Long Hard Winding Road safety culture article (Download PDF)

Just Culture group discussion

CIAL Just Culture – another example

Safety objectives

Safety objectives need to state the short, medium and long term intended safety outcomes. To be effective they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and fall within a specified time frame. The SMART acronym is used:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Personal Example:  My aim is to lose 2kg of weight in 2 months.  This is in keeping with medical advice using a sensible balance of diet and exercise.  

Operational Example:  We will eliminate our avoidable ground taxi incidents by the end of the year. This will be done with an education campaign targeting pilots, and by reducing our allowable taxi speed.

Strategic Example:  We will put safety as our number one priority.  Our avoidable safety incidents will be nil. The safety culture will encourage an open and honest reporting system, and we enforce a fair and just policy for mistakes. Our Safety Management of this will be fully functional within one year.

Examples of Safety Objectives are found at Building an SMS

Safety Performance Indicators and Targets (SPIs and SPTs)

Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs) are any data-based parameters used to
monitor and assess performance against an organisation’s safety objectives.

Safety Performance Targets (SPTs) are defined levels of performance set for each SPI.

SPTs can be:

  • Quantitative – measurable
    • Example: Number of Safety Culture surveys to be completed each year
  • Qualitative – Subjective
    • Example: SMS training judged to be above average by most employees

The relationship between SPIs and SPTs can be seen on the right, from AC 119-01 v1.1

AAP Strategic safety plan

Management commitment to empower workers

Management commitment needs to be clear, unambiguous and transparent. Workers must understand that management are committed to their safety and well-being.  Development and reinforcement of a safety culture depends on a shared vision for safety.

Origin Energy management statement to Stop an unsafe Task. From Halladale Black Watch Speculant gas exploration project near Warrnambool Victoria

Origin Energy management statement to Stop an unsafe Task.
From Halladale Black Watch Speculant gas exploration project
near Warrnambool Victoria