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Basically, the premise of TQM and TSM are similar in that safety is a quality of an organization, and vice versa. The systematic approach of Total Safety Management (TSM) is somewhat similar to the approach of Total Quality Management (TQM), as the former also begins with the systems-thinking approach. Selected TQM concepts and techniques such as technology, strategy, culture, people, environment and structure have been identified which are already in existing TSM.
Each of these concepts is adapted to a TQM style management system in which the forces on a customer’s focus, leadership commitment and employee empowerment drive a continuously improving system. Roughton and Mercurio (2002) relates that in fact, many business organizations of today have adopted TSM that are often inspired by the principles developed in TQM, and indeed are in some cases integrated with the latter approach.
When each concept, technique or requirement is adapted to TSM, it results to drive a continuously improving safety system that the organization requires. Correspondingly, the TQM approach uses many of the same methods as TSM to uncover safety performance deficiencies that are to become targets for improvement. Additionally, it concentrates on the management systems and practices that contribute to these problems. These conditions may appear in all functions, from planning through organizing and decision making, to evaluating cost-effectiveness.
Tweedy (2005) is of the same opinion, and adds that they also include the presence or absence of practices that incorporate employee safety considerations into everyday business processes such as the application of ergonomic principles to workplace and equipment design, review of purchasing specification by safety and health professionals, and timely correction of reported hazards. TSM within organizations is an iterative process which is in accordance with the important TQM principle of continuous improvement pointed out above.
Moreover, both TQM and TSM consider the complexity of the system as an explicit element in design and analysis, as well as a belief in the integrity of the human operator in the system. At the level of change principles, TQM starts with a focus on the work process, typically the existing work process, which TSM similarly starts from. Additionally, both TQM and TSM advocate a measurement-based approach. For interventions, the main point of similarity is in the use of small teams to control the change process. Differences
In those tenets where TQM and TSM differ, it is primarily due to differences in level of application. TQM is concerned with the company as a whole, its customers and suppliers. It advocates a managerial approach, emphasizing responsibility, overall costs, continuous improvement and managerial heuristics. Geller (2001), in relation to the previous statement, asserts that whereas TQM is focused on customers’ or clients’ needs, TSM is more concerned with the internal resources of the firm which is human resources.
Just as TQM defines its performance objectives more broadly than TSM, it also makes a broader spectrum of training available to employees. TQM-based instruction teaches employees not only how to be safe but educates them about self-improvement and team-building methods that make possible ongoing contribution intended to increase safety throughout the organization, as well, which is not found in the TSM approach.
In the present TQM thinking there is an already a tendency to see health, safety and environment as elements in an integrated management approach. While both TQM and TSM start with a focus on the work process, the latter is typically advocated at a function level in the sense of all possible processes which could perform the task, rather than in the sense of the current process.