PF Olsen Aus logo.jpg

Review and Progress your Safety Management System

We constantly review the performance of our businesses to identify if we are on track to meet the financial goals, operational targets or customer satisfaction. We may need make changes to meet our set goals due to unforeseen circumstances, global economy, environmental conditions or other reasons. These reviews could affect the planned purchase of equipment, divesting of assets or taking on new business opportunities.
 
Part of the business review must also extend to a review of your Safety Management System (SMS). A SMS is as important to your business existence as financial management or operational performance. Ongoing reviews of your SMS should lead to one of your key business goals; enhanced safety performance through the identification of hazards, reducing hazards and where practical, eliminating these hazards.
 
Your SMS should be part of an ongoing monitoring review conducted every six to 12 months. This review helps confirm the policies are current, relevant, and reflect the current business needs. Your SMS is designed to not only maintain safety in hazardous situations, but to also prevent these situations from occurring in the first place.
 
Areas of an SMS where special care should be taken when reviewing to ensure an effective and robust SMS include:

a) Management commitment

If Managers hardly ever notice a hazard or comment on safety, if safety is rarely discussed with supervisors, or if a policy is not implemented, this is seen as a lack of commitment to safety. A Manager’s role is to create a “safety culture” and provide leadership.

b) Inadequate training

Supervisors who have not been trained in the basic elements of on-the-job safety, or who are not skilled in communicating that information, cannot undertake their role in effectively supervising employees. Adequate training of supervisors and employees is a far more cost-effective approach in the long run.

c) Inconsistent enforcement of safety rules

If enforcement of safety rules differs from work group to work group, or if employees are expected to obey the rules but management is not, the result is that people will not take the SMS seriously and enforcement serves only to undermine and weaken employee’s perception of the businesses and management safety commitment.

d) Failure to involve all employees

When all employees are not totally involved, the best that can be expected is “indifference”. Employees are often the first to recognize hazards on their jobs or in their activities and frequently have excellent ideas on how to correct an unsafe condition or change a job procedure to reduce the probability of an accident.
 
While these areas mentioned above are common pitfalls in managing a SMS, it is important to keep in mind that there are a variety of potential workplace hazards and risks. It is important to maintain constant safety awareness and businesses should do their best to stay alert and informed, both on the job and when researching industry developments.
 
The world is changing fast. Technology is improving and changing all the time, and we can’t be left behind! There is no reason why your SMS can’t make improvements with constant review, and don’t forget to introduce new methods to the way things are done.
 
Remember, we are only as good as the last thing we accomplished so we can’t afford to become complacent or repetitive.