Safety Risk Management: Unplugged

Bob Baron, Ph.D



By now, it should come as no surprise that one of the most crucial elements of a safety management system (SMS) is safety risk management (SRM). SRM is a process by which an organization identifies hazards, assesses the risks associated with those hazards, and then mitigates those risks to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). Mitigation can range from eliminating the hazard in its entirety (and its associated risks), to accepting the hazard and putting in place controls to minimize the risks associated with it.


Effective SRM can keep an aviation organization out of trouble by reducing the likelihood of incidents and accidents. In turn, this makes the organization safer, with a corresponding increase in ROI and a reduction in potential litigation exposure. Although SRM is a process that is “in place” in many aviation organizations, many safety managers still struggle with the concept.


Let’s start with the basics of how the SRM process works (or should work). As an employee of XYZ Aviation Company, one of your SMS responsibilities is to submit safety issues into the voluntary (and non-punitive) company reporting system. These issues include safety hazards that you may identify in your daily activities...


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