Safety Risk Management
This second component is about looking forward to what could harm the organisation or personnel. Safety risk management is the organisation considering the risks and hazards of the operation, and ensuring that appropriate controls are put in place to eliminate, mitigate against, or manage them so as to reduce them to As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP)
Safety risk management requires an understanding of:
- Aviation Hazard – a condition or object that has the potential to cause or contribute to an aircraft accident or incident.
- Consequence – the outcome of a hazard realising its potential and occurring
- Likelihood – the chance (or the probability) of a hazard occurring
- Risk – the likelihood of a hazard occurring and the resulting consequence.
To summarise, a hazard is something that has the potential to have a negative, harmful consequence. A risk is the combination of a consequence and the likelihood of it occurring; a risk arises from exposure to a hazard. In other words, a hazard can be a source of risk.
It is fundamental to the SMS that all personnel not only have an understanding of the above definitions (there are a number of differently worded definitions – see ICAO, CASA, FAA, EASA – but all have the same intent), but also that they have the opportunity to participate and have input into both elements below.
Note: ALARP is becoming more commonly replaced with SFARP or SFAIRP being So Far As (Is) Reasonably Practicable. For this course, ALARP will be used as the common term.
2.1 Hazard identification
Hazards need to to be identified so that they can be managed. Input from all sources should be considered when establishing a register of all hazards. Any member of an organisation (or indeed even associated with the organisation) should be able to have input to this process.
Once identified, the context needs to be considered. Hazards that may appear trivial to one member, could have significantly greater potential to cause harm to another.
As such, the hazard identification process must be systematic, ongoing and extensive. There are many potential sources to identify hazards.
2.2 Safety risk assessment and mitigation
The assessment of a risk (likelihood and consequence) and the management of it to reduce the potential for harm, is a formal process.
The aim is to have controls in place such that the risk is either eliminated, or reduced to As Low As Reasonably Practical (ALARP), and therefore safe to continue practicing.
Not all risk is bad. It is the sensible balance of risk against commercial gain that allows companies to be productive. If all risk was as low as Possible, the expenditure required would outweigh the commercial benefits.