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01. What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?

Safety Management System (SMS) is a comprehensive, collaborative approach to managing safety. It brings management and labor together to control risk better, detect and correct safety problems earlier, share and analyze safety data more effectively, and measure safety performance more precisely. 

SMS helps transit agencies apply resources to risk and ensure they have the organizational infrastructure to support decision-making at all levels regarding the assignment of resources.  

Some key parts of SMS include:

  • Defined safety roles and responsibilities;
  • Strong executive safety leadership;
  • Formal safety accountabilities and communication;
  • Effective policies and procedures; and
  • Active employee involvement.

Operators of public transportation systems that are subject to the PTASP rule must develop and implement SMS processes as part of their agency safety plans.

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