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Safety Management System (SMS) and the role it plays in ensuring workplace well-being

In today’s society, occupational accidents are regrettable incidents that can and should be managed and prevented through thorough planning, organisation, and the capacity to monitor and assess the efficiency of these procedures. A valuable instrument that empowers organisations, big and small, to meticulously plan, organise, and execute their safety measures is referred to as a Safety Management System (SMS).

The aviation industry first coined the term Safety Management System (SMS) in response to the reactive fly-fix-fly mindset prevalent before the 1990s. Several high-profile accidents underscored the necessity for a more systematic approach to safety. Since then, the concept has evolved significantly, becoming a regulatory mandate within the industry. Now the aviation industry, once considered a high-risk sector, has transformed into an ‘ultra-safe‘ environment where catastrophic events are relatively infrequent. As a result of its success, the SMS approach has been widely adopted and implemented across various industries.

What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 places several duties on employers, including the duty to manage Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). SMS provides a framework to help do that effectively. They can and should be tailored to suit the needs of the individual and the organisation.

Simply put, an SMS is a systematic approach to managing workplace risks in an organisation. This allows a company to provide a safe and healthy workplace, prevent work-related injury and ill health, and continually improve its performance concerning OHS.

Some key components of an SMS include:

  • Safety Policy and Objectives
  • Safety Risk Management
  • Safety Assurance
  • Safety Promotion
  • Safety Reporting and Investigation
  • Safety Planning
  • Safety Performance Monitoring
  • Safety Management Documentation
  • Safety Communication
  • Safety Training and Education
  • Safety Management Review
  • Safety Management System Promotion

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Certified Safety Management Systems

ISO 45001:2018 is the internationally recognised standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. Embracing ISO 45001 signifies a commitment to excellence in safety practices, elevating organisational performance while mitigating risks. By aligning with this benchmark, companies not only demonstrate their dedication to safeguarding their workforce but also gain a competitive edge in the market, bolstering reputation and trust among stakeholders.

The Safe-T-Cert is a certification scheme designed for certifying the SMS of contractors, big and small, working in the construction industry. The objective is to improve health and safety management by providing objective standards and certifying those contractors whose safety management systems have been assessed and demonstrate that they meet specific requirements.

How implementing an SMS can benefit you

Implementing and maintaining a Safety Management System tailored to your needs can have major widespread positive impacts. Some of these benefits are listed below:

  • Identify hazards and implement controls
  • Ensures legal compliance
  • Improved productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Lower insurance premiums
  • Reputation boost
How can MKO help you implement and maintain a successful Safety Management System?

Implementing an SMS has proven efficient in enhancing overall workplace safety and well-being. Whether an organisation opts to adhere to accredited standards like ISO 45001 or the Safe-T Cert or simply aligns with a standard, the SMS provides a systematic framework for managing occupational health and safety risks and ensures legal compliance. Companies with an ISO system, like ISO 9001 or 14001, will find that their new Safety Management System will easily incorporate the safety elements and activities into these management systems.

At MKO, our dedicated Health and Safety team has extensive experience and expertise in implementing and maintaining SMS. Our skills allow us to provide you with the specific components necessary to ensure that a systematic approach is being taken to ensure occupational health and safety. By embracing safety management system standards and partnering with MKO, businesses not only safeguard their employees but also position themselves as industry leaders poised for sustainable growth. Contact our team and pave the way towards a safer, more secure future for your organisation.

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