Home > Work Safety Law > Health and Safety Management Systems

Health and Safety Management Systems

By: Norman Thomson - Updated: 29 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Management Accidents Risk Hazards

It is a legal requirement for companies to have formal Safety Management System (SMS) in place. However, it should be remembered that the extent and complexity of an SMS will depend upon a number of factors. For example, a garage with three or four employees, carrying out mechanical repairs and servicing of cars, will only require a basic management system. On the other hand, an oil and gas production company, with over 10000 employees, will require something much more formal and much more intricate.

The Basic Elements of a Safety Management System

Regardless the size of the company, or the nature of work that is carried out, there are five basic requirements of a Safety Management System: policy; organisational competence; planning through risk assessment; monitoring performance; and review.

Policy

Every company should set out its policy for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of its employees. Often called a ‘Statement of Intent’ this is a document that business owners or senior executives commit to. The Statement of Intent should contain more than one single statement; instead it should have several paragraphs that clearly demonstrate management have accepted their responsibilities for employee safety.

Statements about safe working methods, use of safe equipment, providing proper personal protective equipment, and training are all important aspects of the policy.

Organisational Competence

How do employees get training in the tasks that are being undertaken? What type of safety training is available to employees? How are employees inducted into the company? What about fire evacuation and fire safety awareness training? These are all important topics to ensure that employees remain safe and healthy at work. Every company should identify exactly what is needed in terms of training, and should identify how employees will get this training. It is common for a ‘competence matrix to be drawn up. This is simply a document that has the names of all employees down the left, and the training they require across the top.

The competence matrix can be used as a planning and budgeting tool. Courses for employees can be scheduled, with any refresher training identified on the matrix.

Planning and Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is fundamentally important in modern health and safety management. It doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact the best risk assessments are those that are kept simple. Risk assessment is a planning tool, which looks at the hazards involved in doing a task and considers the risks from those hazards. Once hazards and risks have been identified, additional control measures can be put in place. Control measures may consist of: procedures to do the job; guarding on machinery; inspections of hand tools and other equipment; personal protective equipment such as hard hats, boots and goggles; and of course, training.

Monitoring Performance

Regular safety inspections are an essential component of the Safety Management System. Safety inspections, which should be carried out monthly, are aimed at spotting unsafe conditions and unsafe practices. Unsafe conditions are those that present a hazard in the workplace, for example, poor housekeeping, unguarded equipment, blocked fire exits. Unsafe practices are those that involve the way people work, for example, using an item of equipment without the appropriate personal protective equipment, smoking in undesignated areas.

Review

At least annually, the entire Safety Management System should be reviewed, together wilth all the risk assessments and safety inspections that were carried out during the year. By carefully analysing risk assessments and the findings from inspections, recurring problem areas can be spotted and lessons can be learned for the future.

Like any other management system, the SMS needs to be kept simple and practical. By committing time and effort to developing and implementing a suitable SMS, accidents and injury can be kept to a minimum.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Need some information regarding our warehouse please. Recently we had decide to purchase a racking system for our warehouse space. My question would be, if we decided to have shelving on this so said racking system, are there any regulations we need to be aware of? Take for an example, if I choose to place 2 work stations under 2 sections of the racking system which has been anchored to the ground and each racking section shelf has been accommodated with proper sheets of board and 2 x 4's, can we place these work benches under the 1st shelf? Or is there a regulation that states we must wear hard hats at all times when beneath the racking system? We just want to make sure we are doing it the right way from the start. Each section is capable of holding 1000 Lbs minimum, and the probability of a shelf coming down from its affixed (by anchors & proper nut & bolt system per crossbeam) location are 10 to 100,000. Please respond as we would like to be sure we are in the right on this one as soon as possible before we anchor and bolt down. Thanks Adrienne
Adrienne - 4-Jun-12 @ 11:41 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Working in a Warehouse - Safety Issues
    Ms - Your Question:Hi I am after some advice regarding chemicals in a warehouse I have a paint shop in the middle of…
    12 December 2017
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Aubrey - Your Question:I work in a warehouse with no heating apart from a fan heater and it’s freezing should I…
    12 December 2017
  • Aubrey
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    I work in a warehouse with no heating apart from a fan heater and it’s freezing should I be working in this weather
    11 December 2017
  • Dodzi
    Re: Dealing with Employee Theft
    I been discriminated by stealing i had appeal with High Manager and he just asked me some questions and they sent me letter after…
    7 December 2017
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace
    J - Your Question:I have worked in a very dusty warehouse for the passed 12 years. I have had an eye test and they said I…
    5 December 2017
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Forklift Truck Safety
    Pat - Your Question:Hi, can you tell me is it a legal requirement to wear a seat belt on a forklift truck when reversing?
    4 December 2017
  • Pat
    Re: Forklift Truck Safety
    Hi, can you tell me is it a legal requirement to wear a seat belt on a forklift truck when reversing?.
    3 December 2017
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Doc - Your Question:I work for a company that's employed by Mars (contract C°) the mars personnel are well cared…
    1 December 2017
  • WorkplaceSafetyAdvice
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    Crazych1ck - Your Question:I am a community care worker which involves a lot of strenuous moving and handling. I also drive…
    30 November 2017
  • Doc
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    I work for a company that's employed by Mars (contract C°) the mars personnel are well cared for but we have to…
    30 November 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the WorkplaceSafetyAdvice website. Please read our Disclaimer.