Understanding Safety / SMS More


Quality Management and Safety Management

SMS is based on the QMS principles. SMS and QMS are complementary. Throughout an effective mature SMS, these principles can be found in many places. The 8 QMS principles outlined below should be kept at the forefront of every effort during development and managing of the safety system.

  1. Customer Focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Involvement of People
  4. Process Approach
  5. Systems approach to management
  6. Continuous Improvement
  7. Factual approach to Decision-Making
  8. Mutually beneficial supplier relations

QMS is focused more on the regulatory compliance and meeting customer expectations. SMS focuses more on the safety performance, but we must not forget that regulatory compliance is supporting safety and that customer relations cannot be strong if there is weak safety culture. QMS focuses on the delivery of the product, whilst SMS, one could say, focuses on the method of delivery in regards to risk and hazard identification. In an overall comparison, out of the 8 QMS principles, apart from no 1, all the rest are core principles of SMS too.

Given the complementary aspects of the two systems, it is very common to see them being integrated in one, being closely bonded. A synergistic relationship can be established between the two systems based on the following:

  • SMS uses many of the QMS tools like auditing, investigation, analytical processes, statistical analysis etc
  • Even though QMS can assure compliance with regulation, it does not assure safety. It can however through its processes anticipate safety issues
  • SMS policies and QMS are similar and must be objectively linked