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  • Jason Starke, Ph.D.

Safety Is Not the Absence of Risk: The Role of a Safety Manager

Updated: Feb 22


One of the core principles of safety management is that safety is not the absence of risk but the effective management of it. The idea that many have asserted that safety equates to a complete lack of risk is not only simplistic but also misleading. Safety professionals understand that risk is inherent in any endeavor. Their role is to identify, assess, and mitigate these risks to ensure that operations can proceed safely.


The Role of a Safety Manager:

Safety managers and professionals play a crucial role in organizations. They are not the "buzzkill" or the "party pooper." Instead, you are the experts who provide valuable insights and guidance to decision-makers. Your primary objective is to inform and empower organizations to make well-informed decisions while considering the risks associated with various activities.


Understanding and Mitigating Risk:

Rather than saying "no" to every new initiative or venture, safety professionals aim to understand the risks involved fully. They work collaboratively with organizations to develop strategies that reduce the probability and severity of potential risks. This approach allows businesses to achieve their goals while ensuring that safety remains a top priority.


Safety as an Integral Part of Business:

Safety should not be viewed as a hindrance to growth and innovation. Instead, it should be an integral part of every organization's culture and operations. The goal is not to eliminate risk entirely but to manage it effectively. When safety is integrated into the decision-making process, it enhances resilience and the capacity to deal with unexpected challenges.


The unfortunate incident involving Titan serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safety in all endeavors. Rush's assertion that safety is a waste and that it equates to the absence of risk is not only flawed but also dangerous. Safety professionals play a critical role in helping organizations navigate risks and make informed decisions. Safety is not about saying "no" but about understanding, managing, and mitigating risks while pursuing growth and innovation.


In the world of transportation and exploration, where safety is paramount, partnering with organizations like Baldwin Safety & Compliance can provide the expertise and tools needed to ensure that safety remains at the forefront of operations. By working together, organizations can achieve their goals while prioritizing the well-being of their employees and the success of their missions.

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