Q32. What is meant by planning, development and implementation?
Planning, development and implementation means the creation of a safety management system (SMS) that supports:
• As a minimum, compliance with national laws and regulations.
• The elements of the organisation's occupational safety and health (OSH) management system.
• Continual improvement in OSH performance.
The elements of your SMS that you will need to develop and populate will depend on the specific model or template that your organisation chooses to use. Although most safety management models have the same basic elements, development and implementation cannot be undertaken until the chosen model has been agreed at senior management levels, communicated within your organisation and the exact structure has been defined.
After the SMS has been developed and implemented, it cannot remain a static entity if it is to be effective in managing OSH risk; it must evolve and develop over time, through a continual improvement process, to meet your organisation's objectives as stated in policy statements and ongoing OSH objectives.
Q33. What safety standards should we adopt?
A number of variables will determine the standards on which to base the content of your safety management system (SMS). In order of importance, these are:
• Meeting and exceeding the minimum legal occupational safety and health (OSH) requirements applicable to the jurisdiction(s) in which your organisation operates.
• Meeting and exceeding the requirements of good practice and Codes of Practice where these are applicable to your operations.
• Meeting and exceeding the minimum industry standard requirements applicable to your business or industry sector(s).
• Meeting and exceeding the minimum safety requirements set by the Board and senior management.
The legal requirement is the absolute minimum standard that needs to be defined within your SMS and all of the functions within your SMS should be assessed and developed to reflect this. For a business based in a single location, it is easy to define the minimum standard that applies to the business but, for organisations that operate in a number of different states, provinces or even different countries, it can be complicated to identify all of the requirements that might apply.
Therefore, many organisations that operate in multiple locations set the content of their SMS to meet and exceed the highest legal standard that applies to their operations, which in nearly all cases will satisfy and exceed the minimum requirements elsewhere. Ideally, your organisation should aspire to exceed legal requirements as, in many areas, these are only minimum standards that can be improved upon easily.
Good practice and Codes of Practice
Compliance with industry good practice and relevant Codes of Practice (CoP) (where available) is an excellent benchmark to integrate into a SMS, as generally these offer a higher standard of guidance than the basic legal requirements.
There are many industry sectors where national and international representative trade associations and organisations provide excellent guidance on minimum OSH standards and promote continual improvement in health and safety within their industry sector.
Improvements often are based upon:
• Developments among their member organisations in safety management practice and techniques.
• Published technical papers.
• Lessons learnt from incidents and accidents.
• Industry sector training.
• Development of industry equipment and operational standards.
• Tracking improvements in national and international industry sector legislation worldwide.
Senior management requirements
The standards to which an organisation operates is a reflection of the commitment to safety from the Board and / or from senior management and, therefore, it is vital that the highest safety management standards are adopted at the outset.