Understanding Safety Policy
Many of the words and phrases used in aviation SMS have very specific meanings beyond those found in the dictionary. Hazard and risk, for example, have definitions that go beyond Merriam-Webster’s definition.
Safety policy is not one of those phrases. In fact, safety policy can refer to two distinctly different aspects of your SMS, which can be highly confusing when you jump in with both feet like I did.
Without context, safety policy is an ambiguous phrase. Much like the statement, “I’m going to the bank,” could be interpreted to mean that I’m on my way to a financial institution or that I’m headed to the riverbank, the definition of safety policy changes depending on when, where, and how we use it.