The position of Safety manager is a very sophisticated and important one for an organization. Without the complete accessibility and lack of freedom in implementing safety tasks, the safety manager may fail to ensure safety for the organization.
In a large organization, the safety manager should be located in such a position so that he can be at liberty to make inquiries into all fields related to design, operation, and maintenance. In other words, the system safety tasks must be allocated to an organizational location or position that will guarantee appropriate priority in attaining information from all available sources directly without any delay or restriction. Noncooperative co-workers can cause the delay in implementing safety priority and thus cost a fortune for the organization.
In a course of securing safety in the organization, a safety manager must own direct access to a wide variety of information and data regarding various design and operations to make sure that this information are received authentically and to avoid tampering that might be done either consciously or unconsciously on its way to transfer trough office.
Safety manager should be the immediate staff in the company who would perform his jobs independent of another supporting facility such as maintenance, administration. It is because this facility may not be able to understand the priority of the safety activities.
The figure below shows a simplified organogram to show the position of safety manager in the organization. It is obvious from the figure is that safety manager should only report to the CEO or head of the organization. He should not have any accountability to another department like HR, Administration etc. However, safety departments may have various other branches or subdivisions in the different level of the organogram so as to facilitate the interaction with different departments for different purposes.
For example, the safety manager must have the flexibility to interact with operational personnel, senior managers and departmental heads throughout the organization. The safety manager should also nurture positive relationships with regulatory authorities, agencies and product and service providers outside the organization. Other contacts will be established at a working level as appropriate. (Ronald, 2005)
However, this strategic location of the safety manager plays important role in the safety management system of the organization. In order to take prompt initiatives and actions regarding safety, the safety manager must not be delayed by company’s formal procedures. He should be free in his course of action and decision and also must have the authority in prioritizing the safety activities. If his position is such that he has to report to every department or a number of managers or top level executives, the safety may be endangered. Thus the location of safety manager in the management hierarchy can make difference in regarding the safety of the organization. (A Unified Framework for Collision Risk Modelling in Support of the Manual on Airspace Planning Methodology for the Determination of Separation Minima)
Ronald, H.E. (2005). System Safety Engineering and Management
A Unified Framework for Collision Risk Modelling in Support of the Manual on Airspace Planning Methodology for the Determination of Separation Minima (Doc 9689) (Cir 319)