A Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) is a set of processes and procedures that help an organization manage its health and safety risks. It can be used to identify, assess, control and monitor health and safety risks. A Health and Safety Management System can be designed to meet an organisation’s specific needs. It should consider the organization’s size, type of business, and the nature of its work. This blog post will discuss the key elements of a Health and Safety Management System and how it can benefit your business.
Most of the key elements required for effective health and safety management are similar to those required for good quality, finance, and general business management. Commercially successful organizations usually have good health and safety management systems in place. Good and effective management principles provide a sound basis for improving health and safety performance.
When it comes to health and safety management systems, there are several benefits that businesses can reap.
For instance, an effective health and safety management system can help businesses to:
- Minimize the risks of workplace accidents and injuries
- Comply with relevant health and safety laws and regulations
- Improve employee morale and motivation
- Enhance the company’s image and reputation
- Reduce workers’ compensation costs
As you can see, there are several reasons why businesses should implement an effective health and safety management system.
Why Safety Management System Is Important?
There are many good reasons for having a safety management system in place within your organisation. A well-run safety management system can improve efficiency, communication and coordination amongst employees, as well as reduce the potential for workplace accidents and injuries.
An effective safety management system will also help to ensure that your workplace complies with relevant health and safety legislation. This can save your organisation time and money in the long run and prevent potential legal action against your business. In short, a safety management system is an essential part of any well-run organisation. If you don’t have one in place already, now is the time to put one together.
There are a number of different elements that you should include in your safety management system. First and foremost, you need to have clear policies and procedures in place regarding health and safety in the workplace. These should be communicated to all employees and regularly reviewed and updated as necessary.
You also need to ensure that you have adequate resources in place to implement your safety policies and procedures. This includes things like first aid kits, fire extinguishers and health and safety signs. Finally, you need to ensure that you have a system for reporting accidents and incidents. This will help you identify any potential workplace hazards and take steps to address them.
By putting together a comprehensive safety management system, you can help to create a safer workplace for everyone. It’s an investment that will pay off in the long run, both in terms of preventing accidents and injuries and in terms of compliance with health and safety legislation.
If you’re not sure where to start when putting together a safety management system, plenty of resources are available online and in print. Alternatively, you could speak to a health and safety consultant who can help you develop a system that meets your organisation’s specific needs.
Elements Of Health And Safety Management System
The HSE document HSG65, Managing for health and safety, describes the occupational health and safety management system used extensively in the UK. This is the principal one required for the NEBOSH National General Certificate course. In 2013, the HSE’s guidance in HSG65 moved from using the POPMAR model (Policy, Organising, Planning, Measuring performance, Auditing, and Review) to a ‘Plan, Do Check, Act’ approach.
The figure illustrates this model. The HSE has argued that the move toward the Plan, Do Check, Act achieves a better balance between management’s systems and behavioural aspects. It also generally treats health and safety management as an integral part of good management rather than a standalone system. A description of this four-step approach to occupational health and safety management is:
- PLAN – establish health and safety management standards based on risk assessment and legal requirements.
- DO – implement plans to achieve objectives and standards.
- CHECK – measure progress with plans and compliance with standards.
- ACT – review against objectives and standards and take appropriate action.
The Plan, Do Check, Act model for occupational health and safety management also forms the basis of the two occupational health and safety management systems: OHSAS 18001 and ILO-OSH 2001.
All recognized occupational health and safety management systems, including HSG65, have some basic and common elements. These are:
- A planning phase;
- A performance phase;
- A performance assessment phase; and
- A performance improvement phase.
planning phase – PLAN
The planning phase always includes a policy statement that outlines the organization’s health and safety aims, objectives and commitment, and lines of responsibility. Hazard identification and risk assessment occur during this phase, and the significant hazards may well be included in the policy statement. It is important to note that in some reference texts, particularly those in languages other than English, the whole process of hazard identification, risk determination, and the selection of risk reduction or control measures is termed ‘risk assessment.’ However, all three occupational health and safety management systems described in this chapter refer to the individual elements of the process separately and use the term’ risk assessment’ to determine risk only.
At the planning stage, emergency procedures, relevant health and legal safety requirements, and other standards should be developed together with appropriate benchmarks from similar industries. An organizational structure must be defined so that health and safety responsibilities are allocated at all levels of the organization and issues such as competent persons and health and safety training are addressed. Realistic targets should be agreed upon within the organization and be published as part of the policy.
performance phase – DO
The performance phase (Do) will only be successful if there is good communication at and between all levels of the organization. This implies employee participation as both worker representatives and on safety committees. Effective communication with the workforce, for example, with clear, safe systems of work and other health and safety procedures, will not only aid the implementation and operation of the plan but also produce continual improvement of performance – a key requirement of all occupational health and safety, quality and environmental management systems. Effective communication should also be with other stakeholders, such as regulators, contractors, customers, and trade unions. The performance phase must be monitored regularly since this will indicate whether there is an effective occupational health and safety management system and a good health and safety culture within the organization.
performance assessment phase – CHECK
The performance assessment phase (Check) may be either active, reactive, or, ideally, a mixture. Active assessment includes:
- Work-based inspections and audits.
- Regular health and safety committee meetings.
- Feedback from training sessions and a constant review of risk assessments.
Reactive assessment relies on records of accidents, work-related injuries, ill-health and near misses, and any enforcement notices. Following an investigation, any recommended remedial or preventative actions must be implemented immediately and monitored regularly. The audit comes in CHECK, but the NEBOSH syllabus places it in the ACT.
performance improvement phase – ACT
The performance improvement phase (Act) involves a review of the effectiveness of the health and safety management system and the identification of any weaknesses. The review, which the organization’s management should undertake, will assess whether targets have been met and the reasons for any under-performance. Issues such as the level of available resources, the vigilance of supervisors, and the level of cooperation of the workforce should be considered at the review stage. When recommendations are made, the review process must define a timescale by which any improvements are implemented, and this part of the process must also be monitored.
Continual improvement implies a commitment to proactively improving performance without waiting for a formal review. Most management systems include an audit requirement, which may be either internal or external or both. The audit process examines the effectiveness of the whole management process and may act as a control on the review process. Many inquiry reports into health and safety management issues have asserted that health and safety performance should be subject to audit in the same way that financial performance must be audited.
Major occupational health and safety management systems
Two other major occupational health and safety management systems are in use globally and HSG65. These are as follows:
- OHSAS 18001 – 2007 has been developed in conjunction with the ISO 9000 series for quality management and the ISO 14000 series for environmental management.
- ILO-OSH 2001 was developed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) after an extensive study of many occupational health and safety management systems used worldwide. It was established as an international system following Guidelines on occupational safety and health management systems in 2001. It is very similar to OHSAS 18001.
Key characteristics of a health and safety management system
A few key characteristics make up a good health and safety management system. A well-run system will have clear policies and procedures in place and a commitment from management to follow these procedures. Employees should also be regular training on how to safely perform their jobs and effective communication between workers and management on health and safety concerns. Finally, a good health and safety management system will have ongoing monitoring and evaluation to ensure that it works as intended. By following these guidelines, companies can create a safe environment for their workers and help prevent accidents and injuries.
- An effective health and safety management system should have clear policies and procedures in place.
- There should be a commitment from management to follow these procedures.
- Employees should be regular training on how to safely perform their jobs.
- There should be effective communication between workers and management on health and safety concerns.
- A good health and safety management system will have ongoing monitoring and evaluation to ensure that it works as intended.
By following these guidelines, companies can create a safe environment for their workers and help prevent accidents and injuries.
The four basic elements common to all occupational health and safety management systems, as described earlier in this chapter, contain the different activities of the system together with the detailed arrangements and actions required to deliver those activities. However, there are four key characteristics of a successful occupational health and safety management system:
- A positive health and safety culture;
- The involvement of all stakeholders;
- An effective audit; and
- Continual improvement.
How To Implement Safety Management System?
There are a number of ways to implement a safety management system into your business. The most important thing is ensuring that all employees know the system and its role in it. All employees should be trained in how to use the system and be able to identify potential hazards.
It is also important to have a clear plan in place for what to do in the event of an accident or incident. All employees should know who to contact and what the procedures are for reporting an incident.
Regular reviews of the safety management system should be conducted to ensure that it is effective and up-to-date. Any changes or improvements should be communicated to all employees.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your business has a robust and effective safety management system in place. This will help to protect your employees and customers and reduce the risk of accidents or incidents occurring.