According to ICAO "Safety is the state in which the risk of harm to persons or property damage is reduced to, and maintained at or below, an acceptable level through a continuing process of hazard identification and risk management (ICAO Doc 9859,2009)."

The traditional perception of safety is considered to be an environment without accidents or serious incidents.  This unrealistic and unattainabe environment contributes to a culture that is reluctant to acknowledge the existence of hazards in an aviation environment.  Hazards exist in aviation and they can be mitigated if those factors which can cause harm are discussed within the organization in a proactive and open discussion.  The elimination of all accidents and incidents in an organization is an unachievable goal.  Despite our best efforts failures will occur.  Mitigating the hazards associated with your organizations activities will determine how successfull your organization is at controlling risks.

As safety management continues to evolve the role of organizational factors has risen to the forefront of safety discussions.  The role of the organization in maintaning an appropriately professional culture emphasizing sound philosophy, policy, and procedures has driven, or has been driven, by the role and need for safety managementThe role of an aviation organization is to provide management decisions and organizational process that will promote a safe and effective workplace.  This includes any activities that the organization has some form of direct control in the workplace.  However, not all actions (or inactions) of people in aviation can be influenced by the organization.  Pilots, engineers, controllers, and airport personnel can have errors or violations that will have an immediate adverse effect on safety.

Organizations utilize many tools to protect themselves from these adverse effects including technology, training, and regulations.  If any of these defences fail because of errors, workplace conditions, or organizational culture then a serious incident or accident could be the result.  Organizations concerned about their safety culture must have sound and effective policy-making, planning, communication, allocation of resources, and workplace supervision to maintain and establish a safe and effective workplace.  These are the functions that determines an organizations direct and reasonable control.

ICAO Safety Management