A systemic approach to managing safety

Jaime Santos-Reyes, Alan N. Beard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    The existing approaches to safety management seem to put emphasis on management functions, guidelines, national and international standards, quality principles, to establish the safety management system (SMS) of organizations. These approaches may represent a step forward to managing safety but may not be enough to address the management of safety effectively. There is a need to adopt a systemic approach to safety management. Systemic may be defined as trying to see things as a whole and attempting to see events, including failure, as products of a working of a system and, within that, see fatality/injury/property loss, etc. as results of the working of systems. A systemic approach has been adopted to construct a systemic safety management system (SSMS) model. The model aims to maintain risk within an acceptable range in the operations of any organization. It is contended here that if the features of the model (i.e. the systems, their associated functions, and the channels of communication) are in place and working effectively then the probability of failure should be less than otherwise. In this way the SSMS has a fundamentally preventive potentiality. It is hoped that this approach will lead to more effective management of safety. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-28
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


    • Risk
    • Safety
    • Safety management
    • System
    • Systemic


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