Safety Review: What It Is and Why We Need It
Regular safety reviews are an integral part of building a safety culture.
Safety reviews are a vital part of a working safety system. At large companies, they are built right into the corporate safety strategies. In practice, however safety reviews come in many different forms. We'll look at what safety reviews are, what they are not, and what they can do for your safety program (for more on safety programs, see Getting Your Occupational Health and Safety Program Started in 6 Steps).
Safety Reviews Versus Safety Audits
Some will equate a regulatory audit of your company with a safety review. While the purpose of the audit may be to make your company safer by ensuring it complies with the regulations, it is not a safety review. It is a regulatory compliance audit, and nothing more.
Defining and Measuring Safety
First, let's start by asking "What is safety?" There are many definitions of safety, but the simplest one I have seen is "safety is the absence of accidents or incidents." If this were true, the only way to achieve total safety would be to leave all aircraft on the ground and not go near them. Therefore, we have to think in terms of level or margin of safety. A more workable definition of safety is the application of all reasonable means to bring the risk of an accident or incident to the lowest practical level.
Safety is very difficult to measure, since a company can be very unsafe yet have few accidents. Meanwhile, another business may diligently follow all safety measures and still have a fatal accident. To bring the risk of an accident to the lowest possible level, one has to develop what is referred to as a safety culture. In order to do this, one requires a safety management system. Safety reviews are the part of the safety management system that ensure it will always be re-assessed and improved as time goes on.
Safety Reviews Find Hazards
A safety review seeks to identify the latent conditions that have the potential to cause an accident or incident. These conditions are identified as hazards, and are then measured in terms of probability, severity, and benefit. The hazards are analyzed and will result in a statement of risk with some possible mitigating circumstances that could eliminate or at least minimize the risk.
A company has a docking station for a large body aircraft, which must be fully retracted in order for an aircraft to be pulled into the dock.
- The hazard in this scenario is that there is no visible means of knowing that the dock is fully retracted
- The risk is that the aircraft will strike the dock if it is not fully retracted
- The severity would be considered medium to high
- The probability may be low, as the company has a policy to always fully retract the dock whenever it is pulled away
- A mitigating circumstance, which would help minimize the risk, would be to paint red lines. This gives a positive visual clue that the dock is, in fact, fully retracted. Training to insure that all personnel check that the dock is at the required line before towing an aircraft in combined with a check sheet calling for this check would reduce the hazard to a minimum
As a side note, it took a $200,000 CAD (roughly $150,000 in US dollars) crease in the side of a Boeing 747 before the company recognized the hazard.
System Safety Services' Approach
A safety review looks for hazards that may be completely legal within regulations, but have the potential to cause an incident. The purpose of the review is to identify hazards and bring them to the attention of the company management.
A safety study, performed by System Safety Services, is always performed by two persons to assist in the validation of potential hazards. The study will begin by reviewing existing policies and determining whether they are meeting their intended objective. The study will also talk to persons in the company for their opinion of the system. Many times, we have found examples where the janitor was aware of a hazard that the management team was unaware existed. The system within the company did not provide a means for this knowledge to be communicated to management.
The results of the safety study will be completely confidential and will be released only to the person authorizing the study. Once the study has been accepted no copies will be kept and all confidential information will be disposed of.
Decisions to implement none, any, or all mitigating circumstances rest solely with the management of the company. Only management is in the position to accurately determine the most appropriate action to be taken (for related reading, see Why Safety Programs Fail).
The Case for Safety Reviews
Safety audits ensure your company is in compliance with regulations. This is important, but it is also the bare minimum expected of you by regulatory bodies. If safety is one of your organization's corporate values, then you need to start doing regular safety reviews. Safety reviews are a systematic study of the hazards and existing practices that results in concrete recommendations to improve your safety systems over time. They are one step on the road to building a true safety culture.
More from AD Safety Network
- When should you consider using custom molded earplugs?
- At what height do falls become deadly?
- Who should be responsible for rescuing fallen workers?
- What kind of training do loading dock workers need?
- How often should I inspect a loading dock?
- How is wind chill calculated?
- What is the difference between occupational safety and process safety?
- Why should rubber insulating gloves be tested?
- What happens if I tie off at the foot level with a personal SRL?
- Why is testing with a NAIL4PET accredited lab important?
- What kind of face protection do I need when using a chainsaw?
- What is the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica?
- What is silica and why is it hazardous?
- What is 'Table 1' and why is it so important?
- Video Q&A - What is a safety policy?
- What kind of fire extinguisher is best for your work site?
- How do I choose the right respirator and mask for working with silica?
- Can I wear fall protection equipment over my rainwear or winter gear?
- When do I need a cage ladder?
- What types of gloves protect your hands from hazardous chemicals?
- How come I still got hurt while wearing flame-resistant clothing?
- What dangers do workers face when working outside in the winter?
- How do I win over my most reluctant employees?
- What kinds of jobs should use disposable safety gloves?
- Is it true that safety shouldn't be a top priority?
- When are employers allowed to conduct drug and alcohol tests on their employees?
- How can I get employees more involved in the risk assessment plan?
- What are some of the indirect costs of accidents?
- How often do fire extinguishers need to be inspected?
- What is the best way to store rubber safety gloves?
- How much voltage protection is needed for safety gloves used in electrical work?
- What is the difference between a safety valve and a release valve?
- When do workers have the right to refuse to work?
- What is the most overlooked item when designing Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures?
- What are some of the misconceptions about heat stress and what should we do to address them?
- What tools should I tether when working at heights?
- What types of gas should I watch out for when working in a confined space?
- How do you create a culture of safety in your workplace?
- What is the difference between industrial safety and industrial hygiene?
- Is it important to get PPE assessments by trained professionals?
- What is a fault tree analysis?
- What kind of respirator cartridge should I use?
- What are the safety benefits of a whistleblower program?
- What type of safety record-keeping and recording should we be doing?
- What makes a hi-vis safety vest ANSI compliant?
- Why is it important to have air sampling done to determine my PELs?
- What is the life expectancy of fall protection equipment?
- What are hot work and cold work permits?
- What are some basic fall protection rules that each of my workers need to understand?
- How much clearance do I need to safely use a Leading Edge SRL?
- What is the difference between an acute hazard and a chronic hazard?
- What’s the difference between a bump test, a calibration check, and a full calibration?
- Is there any legislation regulating lone worker safety I should know about before hiring?
- What kind of fire extinguisher and accessories should be kept on hand on a factory floor?
- What can companies do to reduce their lost time injury frequency rates?
- Video Q&A - What's your safety network like?
- Video Q&A - What are the 3 levels of safety?
- Video Q&A - How do you treat a near miss?
- Does body weight affect falls differently?
- What ages are most affected by falls?
- Why do workers take risks?
- What Is the Difference Between OHSAS 18001 and 18002?
- What is the difference between lost time injury and medical treatment case?
- What is the difference between occupational health and safety and workplace health and safety?
- What is the difference between occupational health and occupational safety?
- What is the difference between a lost time injury and a disabling injury?