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Safety Management Systems (SMSY)

Course details

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This course aims:

  • to provide you with an awareness of the issues associated with conducting technical safety activities within an organisational and regulatory environment;
  • to help you develop skills at applying theoretical safety engineering knowledge.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • discuss the evolution of regulatory and legal context for safety;
  • discuss the relationship between business and safety risk management;
  • evaluate the role of organisational structure in safety performance;
  • differentiate between safety management system documentation and safety management systems;
  • list the key activities covered by a safety management system;
  • discuss the role of philosophy, policy, procedure and practice in safety management systems;
  • characterise the safety culture of an organisation;
  • prepare a work breakdown structure for a safety programme;
  • estimate cost and time for safety activities;
  • appraise a safety management proposal for practicality;
  • describe the requirements for safety competency management;
  • explain the relationship between safety competency and engineering ethics;
  • design a suite of metrics for a safety programme;
  • differentiate between proactive and reactive safety activities;
  • discuss the state of the art and future directions in safety management systems.

Who is the course for?

This course is suitable for:

  • practitioners across all domains including aerospace, military, railway, automotive, civil nuclear, civil maritime, medical devices, healthcare, and so on;
  • developers of equipment safety cases during design for software, hardware, procedures, systems and/or platforms;
  • developers of safety cases for operational safety and disposal;
  • reviewers of safety cases within an organisation or as an independent activity;
  • developers and reviewers of changes to existing safety-critical / safety-related equipment and operations;
  • project managers where development of a safety case is a significant element of projects they manage;
  • regulators of safety critical domains.


A basic understanding of system safety terminology and lifecycle via prior learning or industrial experience. It is useful for you to have taken our Foundations of System Safety Engineering course, but if you have not, please email us with your details so we can assess your suitability for taking this course.

How is the course taught?

The course takes place over one week at the University of York. This week consists of a mixture of lectures and practicals, but we expect you to put in around 30 hours of private study.

Over the week, there will be a series of lectures and a number of case studies. The case studies give you the chance to work through an example to reinforce your learning from the lectures. This is also a chance to gain other insights from the experience and knowledge of other delegates. You will also be able to call on the experience and knowledge of our specialised teaching staff during these sessions.  

The course ends with an assessed exercise, which you have the option of completing. It takes approximately 35 hours in addition to the scheduled teaching time and can be completed on or off site. All assessed exercises are open (so you won't take an exam in supervised conditions), and comprise a report, case study, or documented piece of software.

If you choose to take and pass your assessment, your results can count towards the completion of the MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering. Our MSc in Safety Critical Systems Engineering is an accredited course, recognised by both the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for the purposes of partial fulfilment of the educational requirement for CEng registration.

Logo from BCS (Chartered Institute of IT) showing our accredited status




IET Accredited programmes logo



Find out more about what this professional accreditation means.

Recommended reading

Nancy Leveson Engineering a Safer World MIT Press 2012
South Shields Committee Report of the South Shields Committee Longman 1843


Book your place

Book your place

The next SMSY instance will be taking place w/c 1st February 2021.

Before booking, please read our Booking Conditions (PDF , 104kb).

To book your place, please complete the booking form and payment form below and return to our Student & Academic Administration Team. Payment can be made online via credit/debit card

CPD Booking Form 2020/21 (MS Word , 70kb)

CPD Payment Form 2020-21 (MS Word , 65kb)

If you have any queries, please contact Heather Taylor, our course administrator, or call 01904 325536.

Image of Safety Management Systems Teaching

Excellent course, the lecturers were extremely knowledgeable and articulated their subject really well.  The course material will be an invaluable reference on such important and large topic