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Safety management systems are essential in the aviation industry, where there are
high risks associated with safety. Every safety management system should contain four main
components, or “pillars.” These pillars include a safety policy, safety risk management, safety
assurance, and safety promotion. All of these pillars work together to make an effect safety
management system.
While all four pillars work together, they each have their own role to play. The safety
policy pillar is a set policy enacted by management that is focused upon improving safety. Safety
policies enacted by management should define the various processes and methods, as well as the
organizational structure that should be followed in order to meet the organization’s safety goals.
Safety risk management involves the risk controls utilized by an organization. Specifically,
the safety risk management pillar of a safety management system determines whether the
organization needs risk controls, whether the controls in place are adequate, and if the current
risk controls need to be revised. All of the analysis conducted through safety risk management,
however, is done based off on the acceptable risk as defined by the organization. The safety
assurance pillar examines the effectiveness of the risk controls the organizations currently has in
place. Additionally, safety assurance also looks to identify new hazards or areas of risk that need
addressed. Lastly, safety promotion is the pillar that focuses upon training on the risk controls
implemented by the organization. In addition to training, safety promotion also is the area of
the safety management system that focuses upon communication about safety and developing a
positive safety culture throughout the entire organization (“The four,”).
The function of each of these pillars is important for the success of an
organization. However, more importantly is how they function together to create a proactive and
predictive safety program. Without each component working together seamlessly, there would
be confusion and an overall lack of safety management. Having a set policy in place ensures that
all employees are aware of safety policies that should be followed within the organization, at all
levels. Likewise, by continuously analyzing the safety measures put in place through the safety
assurance, the organization can ensure that the safety measures that are in place are effective
(Arendt, and Adamski, 2011). Additionally, safety risk management also contributes to this. The
analysis of the organization’s current risk controls, the adequacy of the controls, and the need for
revision are all important in ensuring that the organization’s risk controls stay relevant.
Maintaining relevant risk controls contributes to a predictive safety program, as employees are
up-to-date on the latest technologies, risks involved with technologies, or newly developed ways
to mitigate risks, which are continuously being applied to the safety management program
through safety risk management. Finally, by maintaining a positive company culture focused on
safety is a major contributor to a proactive and predictive safety program. By keeping safety are
the forefront of employees minds, having a strong, solidified safety policy, providing appropriate
training, and having open dialogue about safety within the organization, risk can easily be
mitigated and safety promoted–a major factor in implementing any safety management system.

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