| Cart Total:
Learn About Quality

What is Safety & Safety Management?

Quality Glossary Definition: Safety

Safety is defined as the state of being free from harm or danger. Safety management can apply to many heavily regulated industries like automotive, aviation, oil, healthcare, workplace, and food quality.

A safety management system (SMS) is defined as an organization-wide process designed to manage safety risk in the workplace. A safety management system can be created to fit any business type and/or industry sector. Generally, effective SMS processes and procedures:

  • Define how the organization manages risk
  • Identify workplace risk and implement appropriate controls
  • Address organization-wide communications
  • Include processes to identify and correct nonconformities
  • Include continual improvement processes 

Workplace Safety

When it comes to workplace safety, there are two distinct schools of thought:

  1. Traditional approaches blame accidents on workers. Herbert W. Heinrich’s 1930s theory that 85 to 95% of all accidents stem from unsafe actions by individuals dictated much of safety practice for decades, including behavior based safety (BBS) approaches. Improving safety the BBS way means rewarding safe behaviors and discouraging unsafe behaviors.
  2. Quality approaches attribute accidents to causes within an organization’s systems and processes. Most detractors of BBS approaches say the scientific community has disproved Heinrich’s theory, and the validity of behaviorism in general.1 Opponents of BBS propose applying quality control methods to workplace safety. They advocate systems improvement to eliminate processes that cause workers to make errors resulting in injury.

The annual direct and indirect costs of poor safety in a company with 200 employees is estimated to be about $360,000.2 To improve workplace safety through a systems-and-process approach, consider using the quality tools discussed below.


ISO 22000:2018 is an internationally accepted approach to manage food safety that describes the requirements of a food safety management system. The ISO 22000:2018 standard details the requirements for a food safety management system (FSMS) and can be certified to. It explains the steps organizations must take to demonstrate its ability to control food safety hazards to help ensure that food is safe. The standard takes a food chain approach to food safety. It defines a set of food safety management requirements that can be used by organizations of any size or position in the food chain.


Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from the raw material production, procurement, and handling, to the manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of the finished product. Like ISO 22000 standards, the HACCP system is applicable to any company regardless to its size, or if it is directly or indirectly involved in the food chain.

The system enables the identification and control of hazards that may occur in a food production process. It focuses on the prevention of potential hazards by strictly monitoring and controlling each critical control point of the food production process. Even though the system initially consisted of three principles, over the years it has been revised and many changes have been made in order to simplify and make its implementation easier. The initial concept of HACCP has never changed.

The seven principles of the HACCP system are:

  1. Conduct a hazards analysis
  2. Determine Critical Control Points (CCP)
  3. Establish critical limits for each CCP
  4. Establish a monitoring system for each CCP
  5. Establish corrective actions
  6. Establish verification procedures
  7. Establish documentation and record keeping

HACCP Safety Management Control Chart Example
HACCP Safety Management Control Chart Example


Advance your organization and career in safety by earning an ASQ certification.



HACCP (Food Safety) Auditor (CHA)
Understands the standards and principles of auditing a HACCP-based (or process-safety) system.

Learn more about CHA

Quality Inspector (CQI)
Evaluates hardware documentation, performs laboratory procedures, inspects products, measures process performance, records data, and prepares formal reports.

Learn more about CQI

Quality Auditor (CQA)
Understands the standards and principles of auditing and the auditing techniques of examining, questioning, evaluating, and reporting for quality systems.

Learn more about CQA

Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA)
Has a basic knowledge of quality tools and their uses and is involved in quality improvement projects, but doesn't necessarily come from a traditional quality background.

Learn more about CQIA

Quality Process Analyst (CQPA)
Paraprofessional who analyzes and solves quality problems and is involved in quality improvement projects.

Learn more about CQPA

Reliability Engineer (CRE)
Understands the principles of performance evaluation and prediction to improve product and systems safety, reliability, and maintainability.

Learn more about CRE

ASQ members get exclusive discounts on Safety certifications – Join today!

safety resources

Quality tools to improve safety

To improve safety through a systems-and-process approach, consider using the following quality tools and templates:

Workplace safety and HACCP articles

Quality Strategies Help Eliminate Likelihood of Serious and Deadly Injuries (PDF) An energy company was dismayed to learn that its fire-safety clothing wasn't adequate for workers dealing with potentially deadly gas-line fires. The company used quality tools and methods to quantify the dangers employees faced and the best ways to protect them. The result: A dramatically safer work environment.

Note: This PDF includes video clips of the burn tests conducted as part of the company's research. The link above will give you access to a version that includes Quicktime videos. If you have trouble viewing the clips, try viewing an alternate version of the PDF embedded with Windows Media (2 MB) videos.

Regional Team Approach Helps Energy Company Enhance Safety, Avoid Costs (PDF) Xcel Energy's Denver operation reduced accidents by 48% in one year and saved the company an estimated $714,000 over a 24-month period.

Seven Steps to Improved Safety For Medical Devices (PDF) Prevent problems and shorten inspections with hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP).

How a Good Quality Management System Can Limit Lawsuits (PDF) Quality professionals can spearhead product liability prevention programs.

Discrete Predictive Analysis in Probabilistic Safety Assessment (PDF) This paper presents methods for predicting future numbers of component failures for probabilistic safety assessments (PSAs).  


  1. Thomas A. Smith, "What’s Wrong With Behavior-Based Safety?" Professional Safety, September 1999, pp. 37-40; Bernard Sznaider, "Six Sigma Safety," Manufacturing Engineering, September 2000, p. 18.
  2. Bernard Sznaider, "Six Sigma Safety," Manufacturing Engineering, September 2000, p. 18.

Featured Advertisers