The importance of a safety management system

A safety management system, otherwise known as an OH&S management system, is a set of formal procedures designed to place a structure around how safety is managed within a workplace. It is an occupational health and safety framework that will govern how you identify and minimise health and safety risks, provide a workplace that promotes the wellbeing of all staff, reduce the potential for workplace accidents and ensure you are complying with health and safety legislation.

What is a safety management system?

AS 4801 and AS 4804 are the Australian Standards for occupational health and safety and specifies the requirements for the safety management systems that organisations must implement to meet their legal obligations. Read more on AS 4801 and AS 4804 here.

A properly structured safety management system is the key to a safe workplace and reduced risk of financial exposure. To maximise the benefits from your investment in safety, it should be designed specifically for the needs of your organisation. Safety Xchange provides service packages that can be tailored to include any or all of the services you need, reducing the cost and complexity of ensuring your operations are compliant.

Safety management systems encompass a wide range of safety elements that create a framework for improving and maintaining workplace safety.

Your safety plan is a strategic, fully costed, annual plan that should form part of your overall business plan. It includes a workplace risk assessment to identify hazards within the company and outlines how these will be avoided. The plan will introduce a structure to be followed by all employees to ensure they clearly understand their safety obligations.
Workplace policies and procedures are the published set of process documents that are created to outline your organisation's requirements for safety including behaviour, expectations, incident reporting, documentation and record-keeping.
Everyone who enters your workplace should participate in some level of on-site training or induction depending on the nature of your operation and the level of risk the person will be exposed to. Staff, in particular, should receive thorough OHS and worksafe training to ensure they are aware of their safety obligations and know how to ensure they are compliant with health and safety regulations.
Every safety plan should be continuously monitored and reviewed to ensure implemented safety systems are on track and new risks are being managed correctly. This is particularly important if a new piece of equipment or a new process is introduced to the workplace.
The best way an organisation can ensure workers are following the policies and procedures required to meet their health and safety obligations is to provide adequate supervision. The level of supervision required will depending on the level of risk and the size of your business. Supervision will allow workers to receive and give feedback which can help to improve the processes that make up your safety management plan.
Your company should have procedures in place for ensuring employees are compliant with governance requirements for safety reporting. Reporting allows those responsible for safety in the workplace to measure and evaluate the performance of the organisation and staff so that the safety management system can be continually improved.