What is safety management and how does it affect your business? According to Wikipedia “A safety management system is a management system designed to manage safety elements in the workplace. It includes policy, objectives, plans, procedures, organization, responsibilities, and other measures.“
Every business, whether you work on a construction site, in a factory or in an office, needs a safety management system (SMS). It’s a systematic approach to managing your safety. A safety management system is scalable so you can tailor it to the size and complexity of your business. Your SMS allows you to adequately deal with safety matters within your scope of work. It allows you to improve and revise it as circumstances change. This is something every business owner or senior manager should take seriously.
SMS & Construction
Businesses who work in the construction industry should particularly look at their SMS or develop one if they don’t have one already. We talk about safety management in construction because it is a higher risk after office and factory work. A good SMS can go a long way to help prevent accidents and occupational hazards.
There are at least three reasons to have an effect SMS system in place when it comes to construction.
- Moral obligation. No company should place its employees, or people associated with the work of the company, at risk.
- Regulations. Most states and nations make it a legal responsibility for companies to promote and maintain secure working conditions.
- Cost-effectiveness. Time, effort, and money spent on preventing accidents is less than the expense of dealing with accidents afterward.
What Makes Up the Safety Management System?
As a minimum the universally accepted framework for any SMS include four main components and twelve elements.
Safety Risk Management
- Hazard Identification
- Risk assessment and mitigation
Safety policy and objective
- Appointment of crucial key safety personnel
- SMS implementation
- Executive commitment and responsibility
- Safety accountabilities
- coordination of emergency response planning
- SMS documentation
- Performance monitoring and measurement of safety
- Managing change within in the company
- Continually improving the SMS
- Internal safety investigation
- Communication of safety
- Training, induction, and education.
A properly performing SMS will typically include:
- Identification of all safety hazards relating to the company’s activities and assessment of the risk associated with each hazard.
- Risk management procedures to keep risk from hazards down to acceptable levels (which may in some cases mean a level of zero).
- Continual monitoring with regular evaluation of safety performance.
- Continual improvement of the effectiveness of the safety management system.
As a reminder, an SMS is not a product but rather a method. Your SMS can be paper-based but the implementation but be documented. This is so that a safety inspector can check it or you can review and update it later.
How Do I Train My Staff?
For your SMS to be effective you will need safety management system training. Start by collecting documents and resources for an SMS library relevant to your company and the scope of work.
Here are a few things you can implement in order to train your staff.
- Induct your staff on a weekly or monthly basis on your SMS
- Get outside trainers to train staff i.e first aid course.
- Include SMS information in your safety bulletins, newsletters, or promotional posters.
- Hold workshops
- Include SMS information in your staff meetings.
A safety management system is fundamental to the success of your business and one you should give priority to. If you are medium to large size organization it would make sense to create a safety department that handles this. They should be empowered to implement the SMS. If you are having trouble creating an effective SMS you can Contact Us or leave a question in the comments below.