6/22/06 AC 120-92Safety is defined in dictionaries in terms of absence of potential harm, an obviously impracticalgoal. However, risk, being described in terms of severity of consequences (how much harm) andlikelihood (how likely we are of suffering harm) is a more tangible object of management. Wecan identify and analyze the factors that make us more or less likely to be involved in accidentsof incidents as well as the relative severity of the outcomes. From here, we can use thisknowledge to set system requirements and take steps to insure that they are met. Effective safetymanagement is, therefore, risk management.
(2) Management: Safety Assurance Using Quality Management Techniques.
In arecent set of working papers and guidance documents, the International Civil AviationOrganization (ICAO) emphasized that safety is a managerial process, shared by both the state(government regulators such as the FAA) and those who conduct aviation operations or produceproducts or services that support those operations.
This is compatible with the goals set forthfor the FAA and industry in the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. The safety management processdescribed in this AC starts with design and implementation of organizational processes andprocedures to control risk in aviation operations. Once these controls are in place, qualitymanagement techniques can be used to provide a structured process for ensuring that theyachieve their intended objectives and, where they fall short, to improve them. Safetymanagement can, therefore, be thought of as quality management of safety related operationaland support processes to achieve safety goals.
(3) Systems: Focusing on a Systems Approach.
Systems can be described in terms of integrated networks of people and other resources performing activities that accomplish somemission or goal in a prescribed environment. Management of the system’s activities involvesplanning, organizing, directing, and controlling these assets toward the organization’s goals.Several important characteristics of systems and their underlying process are known as “processattributes” or “safety attributes.
”when they are applied to safety related operational and supportprocesses. As in the previous discussion of quality, these process attributes must have safetyrequirements built in to their design if they are to result in desired safety outcomes. Theattributes include:
Responsibility and authority for accomplishment of required activities,
Procedures to provide clear instructions for the members of the organization tofollow,
Controls which provide organizational and supervisory controls on the activitiesinvolved in processes to ensure they produce the correct outputs, and
Measures of both the processes and their products.
ICAO Document 9734, Draft Safety Oversight Manual; ICAO Document 9859, Safety Management Manual,March 2006; and ICAO Working Paper from the ICAO Air Navigation Commission, Approval of Draft Report toCounsel on Amendment 30 to Annex 6, part 1.
The six system characteristics, responsibility, authority, procedures, controls, process measures, and interfaces, arecalled “safety attributes” in the FAA’s Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS).
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