Safety Management System


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Published 03/04/2022


What is a Safety Management System?

A Safety Management System provides organisations with a framework to improve employee safety and health, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions The development and implementation of a comprehensive Safety Management System will support continual improvement and enables an organisation to develop and maintain a strong safety culture.

The formal and organization-wide approach to managing safety risk and guaranteeing the efficacy of safety risk controls is known as a safety management system (SMS). It consists of processes, practices, and policies for managing safety risks. In system safety and safety management, SMS presents an evolving process. It is a systematic procedure requiring businesses to treat safety with the same importance as other fundamental business activities.

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Safety Management System Components

A Safety Management System is made up of four different components:

- Safety Risk Management
- Safety Policy
- Safety Promotion
- Safety Assurance
Policy statement outlining intent and commitment from leaders
Measurable objectives and targets
Roles and responsibilities
Assessment and management of risk
Outlining the resources needed for the development, implementation and evaluation of the Safety Management System
Operational planning and control
Performance Evaluation - internal auditing and management review
Continual Improvement

A Safety Management System enables organizations to provide products and services that are safe and secure while also ensuring that all their processes are safe. According to the (ICAO) International Civil Aviation Organization, occurrence reporting, hazard identification, risk mitigation, performance assessment, and quality assurance are the essential activities of a safety management system, according to the (ICAO) International Civil Aviation Organization.

Safety policy

Establishes top management's commitment to improving safety continuously; outlines the processes, procedures, and organizational structure required to fulfill safety objectives. Occupational safety and health management policies should provide the organization with a clear path to follow.

As part of a proven commitment to continuous improvements, they will contribute to all facets of business performance. Responsibilities to individuals and the workplace shall be addressed to comply with the law's spirit and text. Losses incurred and liabilities will be reduced through cost-effective ways of protecting and developing physical and human resources.


How does the organization prepare for, create, and implement its risk management strategy? How often are hazards identified and risks successfully managed? What objectives and goals are defined to drive OHS performance or track progress? What contingency and emergency plans are in place?

The workplace should develop a plan to implement the Safety Statement's safety and health policy. For the policy to be implemented, an efficient management structure and mechanisms need to be implemented. All managers and workers should have safety and health objectives and targets.

Implementation and operation

Organizations should create the competencies and support systems needed to accomplish the safety and health policies, objectives, and goals for effective implementation. Not just to avoid accidents but to work safely and safeguard their long-term health, all employees should be engaged and empowered.

An effective safety management system should implement the health and safety policy in a planned and systematic manner. Generally, the goal is to keep hazards to a minimum and define priorities and create targets for removing hazards and lowering risks, and risk assessment techniques should be applied. Thus, risks should be minimized as much as possible through the design and selection of facilities, tools, and procedures.

If dangers cannot be eradicated, they should be reduced through physical controls and safe work processes, or, as a last resort, the supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs). Performance benchmarks can be set and used to assess the progress. It's necessary to effectively identify specific steps to develop a strong health and safety culture.

Performance evaluation

The organization's health and safety performance should be measured, monitored, and evaluated. Performance can be compared to agreed benchmarks to determine when and where improvements are required. The effectiveness of the health and safety management system is shown through active self-monitoring.

This monitoring considers hardware (premises, plants, and chemical products) and software (procedures, people, and systems, including individual behaviors and performance). When controls fail, reactive monitoring should investigate the accidents, illnesses, or occurrences that may have resulted in injury or loss to determine why they failed.

Auditing and action for improvement

The organization's safety and health management system should be reviewed and improved regularly, improving its overall safety performance. The company can use what it has learned from relevant experience. Data from monitoring and independent audits of the entire health and safety management system should be used to systematically evaluate performance. These are the foundations for fulfilling the organization's responsibilities. A significant commitment to constant improvement, including the formulation of risk control policies, processes, and procedures, should be established.

An SMS is designed to help an organization satisfy its legal responsibilities under relevant workplace safety & health regulations by acting as an organizational administration framework. How the SMS is designed and what resources are necessary to properly manage work health & safety risk will be determined by the breadth of the organization's operations and hence its risk profile.

Other managerial system functions, like process safety, environmental resource management, and quality management, may need to be integrated with safety management to meet both regulatory and industry sector requirements, as well as an organization's internal and discretionary standard requirements.

Safety management should be viewed as an integral element of an organization's broader business management system rather than an afterthought. Management standards for various business operations, such as environment, quality, and safety, are increasingly being established. These formerly separated parts may be integrated and controlled inside a single organizational management system rather than as separate and standalone services.

Why its important to have a Safety Management System in place

A Safety Management System can benefit organisations of any size and context by:
- Minimising Risk
- Reducing injuries and injury-related costs such as medical expenses, increased insurance premiums and replacement labour
- Enhancing an organisations productivity, reputation and improving business opportunities
- Continuous improvement of an organisation's performance through measurement and evaluation
- Demonstrating that the organisation is meeting legal requirements
- Improved employee morale and performance
- Integration of occupational health and safety into its business management system and processes such as Environmental and Quality Management

Steps to get started

- Determine the scope of the Safety Management system in relation to the specific context and needs of the organisation
- Review existing systems and identify any gaps against international standards (ISO 45001)
- Develop an action plan to close the identified gaps - identify who, what, how and when by
- Consult with the workforce
- Development of resources including supporting procedures and systems
- Identify training needs

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