Appointment of key safety personnel
The size and complexity of an organisation will determine the number of key safety personnel. Obviously the bigger and more complex, the greater the safety department will require, with dedicated safety employees.
At the other end of the scale, a small non-complex organisation may only require a safety manager who holds one or multiple other roles.
The commitment to safety is measured in ways other than how many persons are employed for the purpose. It is possible to have a highly functioning SMS with minimal persons so long as the processes and procedures are effective and all personnel are cognizant of them.
The safety manager
Regardless of the size and complexity of the organisation, a person will be required to manage safety albeit as a full time or part time role. That person will need to be given recognition and resources to manage the SMS and be appointed Safety Manager (SM)
The role, responsibilities, qualifications, required training and even recommended personality traits are clearly described on page 16 of CAAP SMS 1-(0). (click to download the PDF)
- Safety Manager training
- Safety Manager qualifications
- Safety Manager roles and responsibilities
- Safety Manager personal traits
The SM must have direct access to the CEO. This is an essential link so that safety matters are viewed independent of operational issues and influences. The SM will be highly visible throughout the organisation and clearly support from all levels of management is vital. When representing the role, SM must be viewed in context and separate to any other position they may hold in the organisation.
Again, depending on the size and complexity, the SM may require a deputy SM and perhaps even other support staff. It is important to note that the SM is not the sole person responsible for safety in the organisation. – each person is included in that role – but the SM will co-ordinate all safety related activities and ensure the SMS functions effectively.
Just as the CFO is not there to make a company profitable, the SM is not there to make a company safe, they are there to manage finance and safety respectively. More on this as we progress.
safety meetings groups and committees
Each group/section/work area in an organisation needs to explore their respective hazards, risks and general safety issues.
There should also be larger safety meetings, perhaps including all staff at forums such as safety stand down days, the weekly/monthly CEO address or even an agenda item at the regular company BBQ. The aim it to have safety infused into the way of doing business and different organisations will have different flavours on how this should be achieved. These are all part of SMS process and should be documented in the SMS manual.
However SMS also requires minuted meetings to discuss operational safety issues, Generally there would be a high level Safety committee – sometimes called a Safety Review Board (SRB) or a Safety Review Committee (SRC) – to consider strategic direction with respect to safety, and formally review SMS policy and procedures. There would also be working groups – such as the Safety Action Group (SAG) – a lower level working group to consider more operational aspects of safety. The two must interlink.
Safety Review Committee (or Safety Review Board) – SRC
The SRC is a high level safety forum made up of senior management. It provides strategic review as to the ‘overall safety health’ of the organisation. The terms of reference for the SRC will be outlined in the SMS manual and the outcomes from the meetings made transparent to the workforce.
As the accountable manager, the CEO would normally chair this meeting. However, if this task is delegated, the CEO remains the accountable manager. Other members of the SRC would include heads of departments.
The CASA CAAP SMS – 1(0) defines the role of the SRC as;
- making recommendations or decisions concerning safety policy and objectives;
- defining safety performance indicators and setting safety performance targets for the organisation,
- Review safety performance and outcomes (generally this will be reported from the SAG);
- provide strategic directions to departmental SAGs – if established; and
- directing and monitoring the initial SMS implementation process
Note that the SRC must interact with the SAG. it will review outcomes and issues from the SAG and provide directives in response.
For example; the SAG may have raised an issue from a safety survey that employees felt a new SMS procedure was not well known. The SRC may direct the SAG to conduct further company wide training, committing both time and resources to rectify this.
Safety Action Group – SAG
The SAG is a working group (or groups) – it gets things done. If the organisation is large with multiple departments, each may have a SAG, but this is dependent on management directives as detailed in the SMS manual. Each organisation would need at least one SAG and in many cases this would be sufficient.
Membership of the SAG is not an exclusive club. Management should encourage participation to any employee who wants to contribute. Some organisations may choose to rotate membership to enhance different perspectives. If there are multiple SAGs, the respective head of area should chair the meeting. If there is only one SAG, the SM or deputy should chair it.
Again from CASA CAAP SMS – 1(0), the role of the SAG is defined as;
- Overseeing the operational safety within the functional area;
- managing the area’s hazard identification activities;
- implementing mitigation or corrective actions relevant to the area;
- assessing the impact of safety on operational changes and activating hazard analysis as appropriate;
- maintaining and review of relevant performance indicators; and
- managing safety training and promotion activities within the area
Frequency of the SAG meetings must be defined in the SMS manual. If there are various other safety meeting where outcomes are fed into the SAG, quarterly is a recommended frequency. However if the SAG is the primary safety meeting in an organisation then perhaps monthly is more appropriate.
Other safety meetings
Each functional area should be having safety meetings. These can be as informal as management dictate. They could in the form of;
- ‘Smoko room’ discussions
- Tool box talks
- Crew room gatherings
The forum is not critical so long as they are regular, the purpose is to discuss issues of safety, and there is some documentation to record the events, outcomes and actions. These should be fed into the SAG for consideration.
If this is the case, it may be much more appropriate to simply have combined meetings (perhaps with all employees) which document the different levels of SMS consideration, while demarcating;
- Functional area safety meetings;
- from safety actions (SAG activities);
- from strategic decisions on organisational safety (SRC activities)
‘…scaled to meet the size and complexity of the organisation…’ (CASA)
‘…scalability is key…’ (CAA NZ)