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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

You can also search articles, case studies, and publications for safety resources.


The Certified HACCP Auditor Handbook

Quality Risk Management In The FDA-Regulated Industry

Mastering and Managing the FDA Maze


Quality Vs. Safety (Quality Progress) This article shows the relationship and interdependency between quality management and safety management, citing examples and tools used in oil and gas asset design projects. Assets include plants; factories; oil and gas refineries; onshore, offshore, and subsea platforms; production lines and pipelines; and all associated equipment.

Integrating Quality, Safety And Risk To Improve Performance (World Conference on Quality and Improvement) Quality leaders can capitalize on emerging developments in aviation and healthcare to enhance an organization’s quality. Recent developments in aviation system safety could offer additional methods not only to reduce medical errors, but also to provide new tools to enhance the value of quality in other industries.

Organizational Culture, Knowledge Management, And Patient Safety In U.S. Hospitals (Quality Management Journal) The relationships among organizational culture, knowledge management, and patient safety performance in the healthcare industry are investigated. A test model for patient safety performance is developed using data from existing literature and a survey of more than 200 hospitals.

The Right Ingredients (Quality Progress) For implementation of a quality and food safety management system, an organization-wide safety mindset is necessary. Every food safety standard is based on the principles of hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), which means you must evaluate all possible hazards in your process and ensure each is being controlled at one stage or another.

Apples To Oranges? (Quality Progress) ISO 22000 was developed to be compatible with ISO 9001. The standard writers never intended for ISO 22000 to replace ISO 9001. Thus, if a food organization wants to develop a management system that covers both food safety and quality, the organization should develop a management system that integrates both standards. This article includes a table with detailed comparison of the two standards.


Patient Safety—Eliminating Harm System-Wide Learn how Henry Ford Healthcare System (HFHS) has achieved a 26% reduction in harm events and a 12% reduction in mortality over a three-year period through its No-Harm Campaign. The No-Harm Campaign involves every business unit and all members of the workforce, and is integrated into the organization’s strategy, culture, and daily operations, as well as its educational mission. The speakers will discuss and illustrate aspects of the HFHS approach to patient safety.

Quality Tools

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

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