Sunday, October 18, 2015

Data Respond Only To Objective Assessments

In an SMS world, when an enterprise is assessed for effectiveness without applying Statistical Process Control (SPC), or in other words, when it is the subjective opinion of an assessor that is applied to evaluation of collected data, the assessment has only a subjective impact of the outcome of processes.

Applying assessments with the "gut feelings" tool and not SPC, is ineffective assessment. 
Assessment is the evaluation, or estimation of the nature, or ability of a Safety Management System to function within an organization.  There are two portions to an SMS System; the regulatory portion and the operational portion. Regulatory requirements are not estimations or abilities, but documentation put in place by an enterprise of systems which are showing their intent to conform to regulatory requirements. The operational portion is management of interconnected systems to operationally, in a changing environment, be capable of maintaining regulatory compliance by the intent proclaimed by the enterprise.

A Safety Policy as a regulatory requirement is described to conform to regulatory requirements and when implemented in the organization, the regulatory requirements are met. An assessment of this safety policy could conducted by anyone, and the result, or opinion of the ability of SMS, would change with the assessor's background and experience. Unless factual data and Statistic Process Control (SPC) is applied in assessment for effectiveness , the assessment is subjective and the outcome becomes irrelevant to safety.

A safety policy is not effective just because reports are received, investigated filed and completed. The policy is effective when an SPC analysis shows that the goals of the policy were met, that the objectives were met and the policy itself has an effect on human factors in the organization for a desire to achieve an undisputed safety record.

Data applied in SPC is discovering the variables of a flowing river.
Without applying SPC in assessments, data collected becomes subjective, while data itself respond only to objective assessments.  Subjective assessments do not affect data in the way that a change in processes makes a difference in desired outcome. The change of outcome will simply change because the process was changed by a subjective evaluation, and without regards for an objective desired outcome. When disregarding objective data available and applying a subjective, or "gut feeling" opinions to data,  the changes could have been made without the implementation of a Safety Management System.