Running a Safety Management System

 Audio Podcast available at the bottom of this post or on itunes.
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  • 0:19 A Safety Management System is…
  • 0:38 An example of a working component
  • 3:14 The Acid Test of a working Safety Management System

“…the acid test for a working safety system” – Tony – Click to Tweet

Tony Collins on Running your Safety Management System


People talk about a Workplace Safety Management System or SMS. There is nothing mystique about any safety system, and you don’t need the latest software to run a system. Even a word document can be your system.

All we are trying to do is document a series of steps that lead to a certain outcome. The action, events and activities you plan and complete will turn your system on, and make it work.

Here is an example. All system will have some reporting requirement. When a person is injured obviously you take care of the person and so on, as detailed in the free reporting chapter, but the point of reporting is that it leads to an investigation. You use the opportunity to learn from the incident.

I have seen so many times companies that will fill in a reporting report, and th en the investigation will go something like ‘the widget has been replaced’. Why not have a step-by-step process, a series of questions or an investigation model that will help you learn from the event. I was talking to an overworked HR person and looking over a report, asking about the process. The person injured was not even asked for their thoughts on what went wrong. So I found this person and asked them what did they think the problem was.

This guy knew how to fix the problem, and in fact had known for years. He was rather miffed at himself that he got caught out with a known problem and when I asked why hadn’t he already pointed out the problem, his response was ‘No one had ever asked’. So a reporting system could include a series of questions that force or remind you to talk to the employees.

Good safety management is so often just better workplace management because if you create an environment where people will talk about safety, you will get a bunch of other business improvement ideas. So the acid test – could you hand over your safety system to a new employee and they would know what they need to do, without your there?