This final component of SMS is often the most understated. To establish a safety culture, all members must feel empowered to participate and contribute. This will only come with training, education and two-way communication.
Element 4.1: safety education and training
Element 4.2: safety communication
Safety promotion is often view as ‘producing products‘ in the name of safety, such as posters, webpages or even give away items such as pens or caps. But in the context of this final component of SMS, it needs to be viewed as ‘the promotion of safety‘. That is, any activity that provides participants to become more aware of the SMS, safety culture and a greater understanding of the priority that safety should have in their oganisations.
Safety pomotion needs to be part of both induction as an initial introduction, and also ongoing to retain currency, be aware of changes and reminded/retrained in SMS processes and procedures. Continuous improvements of SMS requires further education/training and communication.
Traditionally training was viewed as a ‘blue collar’ activity (as in Trade Trading). Whereas education more considered more ‘white collar’, tertiary qualifications. In the modern era training is more commonly viewed as ‘what is required to be qualified do your job‘. An example might be a pilot doing their Type Rating Training to be qualified to fly that type rated aircraft.
Education is more commonly now seen as expanding or exploing new skills or knowledge for perhaps professional development. An example could be a business person doing an MBA to make themselves more attractive to a future employer. Both are important in SMS
The key to a successful SMS is safety culture, and to achieve a safety culture, communication is essential…but it needs to be two-way.
The organisation must inform personnel of safety matters, be it feedback, new information, changes, awareness, training, education, or any other information that lets employees and contractors feel they are part of the SMS
The employees (or contractors) need to openly and honestly communicate back to the organisation those issues they see are relevant to safety. Only with an open and honest reporting system will a SMS gain data to become the predictive tool it is designed to be.