Safety management systems
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Effective & Appropriate Safety Management Systems

Development of effective and appropriate Safety Management Systems at different levels of cultural maturity is likely to focus on the following:

Levels 1 & 2  –   likely to be a strong focus on amending basic systems to remove obvious problems and barriers to safe behaviours and likely risk factors.

Levels 3 & 4  –   use workforce identified problems to stimulate workforce interest and participation in health and safety improvement

Levels 4 & 5  –   key challenges are maintaining high standards and enhancing systems in response to new challenges; and progressively removing residual risk and error/violation inducing factors

At lower levels (1-3), increasing the amount of health and safety communication will be a key element (tied into demonstrable management commitment, etc.)

At higher levels (3-5), communication likely to be important to help motivate the workforce; increase involvement (communications will be 2-way with greater involvement) and sustain continuous improvement.  

Health and safety training has several roles:

  • To ensure competence (in health and safety; especially hazard & risk awareness) – prime role, especially at lower levels;
  • To show an overall genuine commitment to health and safety – via attention devoted, including non-work health and safety issues;
  • As a means of stimulating interest and involvement – addressing staff issues raised; involving staff actively in developing & giving training sessions; fun training (quizzes, competitions etc.);
  • As a means (senior) managers can use to demonstrate personal commitment to health and safety. 

Training progression:

  • At Levels 1 & 2 most health and safety training is likely to focus on basic health and safety requirements (compliance), working safely, hazard & risk awareness;
  •  At Level 3 onwards there is likely to be training on behavioural aspects – basic awareness & specific skills (observation & feedback) training for selected staff;
  • At levels 3 - 5 training progressively shifts from being “given”, which ensures basic staff competence, to being a vehicle for participation, stimulating interest & motivation, and aiding continuous improvement (including skills & knowledge enhancement as required, e.g. team working; advanced leadership; risk assessment for workforce, behavioural safety, etc.)