Six Basic Safety Management System Elements

After reviewing many proposed [[[safety management systems]]] and comparing elements of each system, it is evident that there are 6 basic elements that must be implementing in any organization before you develop a success safety culture.

In many cases, The big question that is usually on the minds of management’s and safety professional’s when trying to define a safety management system is: How can we first increase employees safety, cut business costs, enhance productivity, and improve employee morale?

The process starts by making it a good business practice to implement and maintain safety programs that provide systematic policies, procedures, and best practices that will provide protection for all employees from recognized and hidden safety hazards. These programs must be designed to support the safety management system that identifies provisions for the systematic identification, evaluation, and prevention or control of workplace hazards, specific job hazards, and potential hazards that may arise from foreseeable conditions.

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The key is no matter how sophisticated your [[[safety efforts]]] are, your system can always be improved, no matter how small your organization may be.

The good news is that there are many ways you, as a business leader can approach this challenge.  The best way is to understand how your management system works and put plans in place to do a better job of managing your safety program.

[[[When it comes to Safety Management Systems, every organization will have a different approach.]]] The key here is that one size does not fit all organizations. Every organization who really wants a [[[true Safety Culture and total commitment from their employees]]] must adapt some basic program elements that will support their commitment to Safety of their employees.

One example is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Proposed ‘I2P2’ Rule.  

According to [[[OSHA]]], the proposed rule will "require employers to develop and implement a program that minimizes worker exposure to safety and health hazards."

No one really knows what the proposed rule will look like, but we can probably make a good guess, based on the recent Injury and Illness Prevention Programs White Paper, published January 2012 where OSHA discusses [[[“How Does an Injury and Illness Prevention Program Work?”]]]

OSHA states that “Most successful injury and illness prevention programs include a similar set of commonsense elements that focus on finding all hazards in the workplace and developing a plan for preventing and controlling those hazards. Management leadership and active worker participation are essential to ensuring that all hazards are identified and addressed. Finally, workers need to be trained about how the program works and the program needs to be periodically evaluated to determine whether improvements need to be made.”

In other proposed Safety Management Systems, such as the ANZI/AIHA Z10, 2005, “Occupational Health And Safety Management System,” the Canadian Standards Association Z 1000-06 “Occupational Health And Safety Management,” and ANZI/ASSE Z490.1 2001, “Criteria For Accepting Practices And Safety Health And Environmental Training, and ANSI/ASSE Z590.3 – 2011 Prevention through Design Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Hazards and Risks in Design and Redesign Processes.

After review these document you will see that there are six basic elements in some aspects that are consistent in nature with OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program which can help to create a successful Safety Management system.

In addition, each system or standard is structured using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. also called: PDCA the Deming cycle and the Shewhart cycle. This is a four step model for carrying out change. Just as a circle has no end, the PDCA cycle is repeated over and over to ensure continuous improvement in a process. (Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle,

Similar to the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is another process or model that is used in the Six Sigma arena to ensure continuous improvement of a process. This method uses a set of statistical-based tool to help identify errors in the system. The model that is used in six sigma is called DMAIC where you will Define opportunity, Measure performance, and Analyze opportunity. Improve performance, and Control performance (How Six Sigma Works, Whereas the PDCA uses the circle effect, the DMAIC uses a selection of tools such as Fishbone Diagrams, Cause-and-Effect (C&E) Matrix, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), control charts, 5S, and others, depending on what is trying to be defined.

The real essence of these models is to continually evaluate your Safety Management System structure based on your written Vision, Goals, Objectives, Policies, Procedures, etc. The PDCA cycle uses the circle which has no end and is repeated over and over to ensure continuous improvement in a process. Whereas the Six Sigma DAMIC method uses a set of statistical-based tool to help identify errors in the system.

It is suggested that you use some type of continuous improvement tool to ensure that your system is working and maturing as you would like.

Basic Element of a Successful Safety System

This chapter will provide a brief overview of the basic elements of a safety management system to help define the purpose to accomplish the following elements:

  • To identify and understand specific hazards and potential hazards in the work environment
  • To reduce or control the probability and severity of identified hazards
  • To train all employees at all levels of an organization so they identify and understand specific hazards and potential hazards that they may be exposed and know how to help protect themselves and others.

More detail on each element will be outline in other chapters.

To accomplish this, based on research, we will discuss six basic element of a successful Safety Management System:

  • Management leadership
  • Employee participation
  • Hazard identification and assessment
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Information and training
  • Evaluation of program effectiveness

In future videos, I will discuss briefly each basic element as they can apply to a true safety management system.


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