Safety Management System: Learning from Ukraine and Russia War 2022

Safety Management System (lesson) from the war between Ukraine and Russia:

On the 24th of February 2022, Russia began the invasion of Ukraine. It is the biggest military attack on any country in Europe after world war-II. Russia attacked in entire Ukraine and destroyed almost all cities of Ukraine lot’s of people lost their lives. Local people left their homes and take shelter in a bunker.

History of Ukraine

Ukraine was the second most powerful nation of the soviet union in the ’90s. In 1991 Ukraine has declared an independent country. at that time, Ukraine had a one-third nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union and had 3rd largest nuclear arsenal in the world. But after independence in 1994 Ukraine decided to become a nuclear-free country and destroy all its nuclear weapons and join NPT(Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) which is known as the Budapest memorandum. As per the memorandum United States, Russia, and Britain gave security assurance to Ukraine against joining NPT as a non-nuclear country

Do you think giving up nuclear weapons in 1994 make Ukraine weaker and as a result of that Russia destroyed Ukraine in 2022 ?

If Ukraine has nuclear weapons in 2022 it is sure that Russia is not attempting any kind of damages to Ukraine for fear of nuclear attack. Even it doesn’t have to join any group like NATO for the security of their nations but it is a matter of “If”. Here in this article, we analyze the failure of existing systems and conclude on what goes wrong.

Let’s Understand the Ukraine war by safety management system

All Safety management systems work on the PDCA cycle. here we can analyze this accident (system failure) and conclude on the result

What is the objective of Ukraine?
(Safety objective)

To make their country safer by joining the NATO nations. Russia is well equipped with its defense systems and its armed force is the 5th largest in the world. by considering all these threats they decided to join NATO nations for the safety of their people.

What Goes wrong?


Hazard: Russia itself is a hazard for Ukraine- the risk of war, nuclear attack, etc.

Failure in Hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA):

  • Ukraine is aware about the risk of war while they decided to move in NATO because russia warn ukraine for several times about war
  • They have identified hazard of war but fail to evaulate risk associated with the hazard
  • HIRA team may be Underestimate probablity of war
  • Sevirity may be rated low by HIRA team
  • Risk rating may be given low so appropriate control was not adopted by Ukraine

If the Ukraine risk assessment team (HIRA team) rated the Russian war as a High risk (RPN) activity then they failed in deciding control measures for reducing risk up to an acceptable level.

let’s understand control measures as per the hierarchy of control what goes wrong?

Safety Management System: Hierarchy of Control
Safety Management System: Hierarchy of control
Elimination of war
  • Ukraine wants to join NATO so they never tried to talk with Russia about not going to war
  • Instead of that, they took support from the USA which is an opponent (against) Russia
  • Instead of Elimination Ukrain provoked Russia for war
  • They are not working on the first step from the hierarchy of control –Elimination of Hazard
  • Ukraine never think about substitution options like withdrawal NATO applications
  • Instead of joining NATO, they can increase their military strength for the safety of Ukraine
  • Ukraine may be thinking of joining Russia again instead of NATO because in case of war Russia defeat Ukraine easily because they have more military power as compared to Ukraine
  • But Ukraine not choosing second step of controls- Substitute the Hazard

If elimination and substitute are not possible choose the third step of control which is an Engineering control

Engineering control

Here you can consider weapons, defense systems to control(resist) Russia in case of war

  • Ukraine has weapons but not sufficient to fight against Russia
  • Their defense systems are failed. Russia crossed Ukraine border in a single day without any struggle
  • No system like antimissile defense systems or it was not working because of that Russia bombard very easily in Ukraine through missiles
  • So, it is very clear that Engineering controls were not sufficient or inappropriate
Administrative control

Administrative controls are the second last level of control

Ukraine chose administrative control to reduce risk (rating) from a high to an acceptable level

  • Ukraine asked for support from NATO,USA, European Union to support in case of any undesired event. Everyone promised support but at the time of war, no one help him. so they have chosen the wrong hierarchy of control
  • Ukraine trained their people on operations of weapons because they have less number of army compared to Russia- These controls help Ukraine for fight aginst Russia.
Personal protective equipment

The last level of defense is personal protective equipment

  • Ukraine provided Helmet, bulletproof jackets, weapons, etc. to their people, for self-defense and fighting against Russia
  • Here almost all levels of defense failed only PPE helps to the people of Ukraine up to some extent during a battle with Russia

From this hierarchy of control, it is very clear that always relied on Elimination, substitution, and engineering control to avoid any kind of accident in the workplace.

In this case, Ukraine does not adopt appropriate controls for reducing the risk associated with the Hazard(war) which resulted in the destroyed beautiful country of Ukraine

Emergency Preparedness and response
  • As a country Ukraine was not prepared for any kind of emergency and their plan for a response was not adequate.
  • Firefighting team in Ukraine doing a wonderful job to extinguish fire due to Russian attacked and rescue of people
  • Make sure your emergency plan must be well prepared and communicated with everyone to handle any emergencies

Why Ukraine failed?

  • Ukraine’s government has not identified risks and opportunities in adopting NATO membership
  • It was failed in selecting the appropriate controls for the safety of their people
  • Failure of leadership commitment toward the safety of their people
  • Failure of identified internal and external issues and it’s control
  • Change management is not done properly if they evaluate NATO membership by appropriate changemenagement they can understand associated risk in new colobrations
  • Failure of Emergency preparedness and responce
  • Improper internal and external communications
  • Incompetence team for Hazard identifications and risk assessment
  • Failure of Management review, not identified gaps in the review
  • Fuilure of PDCA cycle

Conclusion based on Safety Management System

It is concluded that always work on the top three controls of the hierarchy of controls to reduce risk level from high to acceptable. Not relied on administrative control or PPE. Ukraine leaders have a commitment to making their country safe but in process of making it safe, they destroy their entire country. So always keep in mind the pros and cons of any decision for making the workplace safer. Always follow PDCA for any system to reach desired outcomes. In Ukraine, their plan is failed, and if one element of the cycle disturbed it resulted in an entire failure of your safety management system.

It is just an approach to understand the safety management system by Ukraine and Russia war. The statistics may be different but it is used for the sack of understanding

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