How Insurance Works

CASA Safety Video – SMS Safety Assurance


The third component of
a Safety Management System is safety assurance. This is about the ongoing running
of a Safety Management System, the day-to-day operation of it. It’s where an organisation
looks at its own safety performance and measures how
it is performing in it. It will include, for example,
investigation of incidents. So you’ve got these reports
that come in, these safety reports
that raise issues. An organisation needs to investigate
and deal with these issues. It will include, if something
changes in an organisation, does that propose
a risk to an organisation? So the management of change is an
important part of safety assurance. And it’s about
the closing of the loop so that any safety issues
that are raised through safety investigations,
safety reports that are recorded and fed back to the organisation and the persons
that raised these issues so that there is
a closing of the loop. MAN: A kind of feedback loop
that must be alive, this is the crucial thing. It has to be a living process. The other part of the package
is the safety information system. You know, the safety
information system is a crucial aspect to this process, and that is finding out
where the edge lies between that which is manageable
and perhaps a prudent place to be, and that which is not. And, again,
you need to see the degree to which people are able
or feel trusting enough to report their near misses,
their errors, their blunders – all the things that would not
normally show up, for example, in basic statistics
like negative outcome data. There are so few of those, it’s very
difficult to judge where you are. You need something to navigate by, and it’s the safety information
system that you navigate by. But simply collecting
the data is one thing, then it has to be analysed,
it has to be disseminated, it has to be acted upon. And, clearly, people reporting
will not continue to report if what they tell
falls into a black hole. There has to be feedback
to the respondents, to the reporters themselves. So there are a lot of, if you like,
structural things in both cases that are important
that you could actually audit to. You know, do they possess
these…these various features? But, of course, the other thing
which is not so easy to audit is the sense by which
it’s being done. Is it a living system?
Are these people truly uneasy? Are these people pessimists
in the sense they wake up thinking
each day will be a bad day? Those for me would be
the key features. WOMAN: Safety assurance,
it’s part of the SMS that I believe will…
keeps us alive. And it’s very much changing because safety insurance includes
change management, auditing, assessing our
key performance indicators. It’s sort of like
the cogs in the wheel, receiving reports and what do
we actually do with that data to see that we’re actually assuring
the safety of the organisation. It’s also dynamic because we’ve got
an organisation that is moving fast, so you have to be adaptable, and so
does the Safety Management System, to the organisation’s needs. But what’s very important to
understand as a small organisation, if you have a particular type
of incident, then that is also likely to become
part of an accident sequence. And so in a small organisation, it’s really critical
to get onto that early, to know about it, to learn from it and to do something about it,
to intervene so as to stop that sequence
from becoming an accident. Hence the very, very strong
importance of SMS in small organisations. MAN 2: I’ve seen organisations that have a mature Safety Management
System very well implemented, and they actually measure
the cost of saving, they measure how much the SMS has
saved them over the reporting period, be it monthly or quarterly. Through events that
have been reported by – in this case it was a maintenance
organisation I’m thinking of – events that…or hazards
that engineers have reported is measured in terms of how much
that has saved the organisation. So less mature organisations often
measure the cost of poor quality in which…where mistakes
are measured in a dollar term, so warranty returns,
that sort of thing. But, like I say, the next step
with a Safety Management System is to measure how much
it’s actually saving you. And it can be done and it is done. MAN 3: While we do say that
an SMS is data-driven, and I think that that’s sometimes
a fairly challenging concept. What we would say, though, is that
a Safety Management System is, at its heart,
it’s managing information, it manages safety information. So what we would look at
in a small organisation is they have more robust
reactive processes. So you’re looking at more,
when events happen, that they are used to consider
the resilience of the system. Take an approach such as,
“We’ve had this event. “Why didn’t it lead to an accident?” You know, “What worked?” And you look at what stood between
that event and the accident, and if it was luck, well,
you need to do something about it. You might find that there were
some controls in place, but at that point you consider
how effective they were and whether perhaps
there’s more that can be done. So it’s a…
An event becomes the data. So the information you’re getting
in your Safety Management System, if you like, give you
an opportunity to consider the resilience
of the system. WOMAN 2: And it’s self-perpetuating. Once your team becomes responsible
for areas of safety, they actually contribute back into the safety culture
of the organisation, and that builds
a more positive culture, a more generative culture in itself. So you have this cycle of a continuously living,
improving, growing system, and you can only
get better from that. Safety can only improve. REASON: The system
should be home-grown and it should be fully integrated
into the current task so that in a year’s time,
once you’ve implemented this, it doesn’t feel like
doing safety as an extra job, it’s a part of
how you do your business. “This is the way
we do our business around here.”


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