Fish Safe Australia

Safety Management Systems Design

A safety management system is designed to manage safety risk in workplace, occupational safety being defined as the reduction of risk to level that is as low as is reasonably practicable to prevent people getting hurt.

AMSA Guide to Safety Management System

12.68 KB, PDF File

The foundation to an effective safety management system is that of effective risk management.

The defined process within an organization for the identification,assessments,evaluation and  control of risk will be key, must be carefully considered and then documented within the safety management system.

Historical Context

Safety management evolved as a counterweight to the exploitation of workers in industry. As the industrial revolution opened up substantial commercial opportunities in Western societies, the financial imperative of business owners and industrialists lead to the use of an exploited, unskilled and uneducated workforce including child labour and rural migrant workers, often in working conditions where injury and death were day to day occurrences.

In the UK, the early 19th century Factory Acts were a significant development for gradually improving occupational safety through the decades, in fact the last iteration was made in 1961. This evolving environment was also the driving force behind the formation of the trade union or labour union movements and worker representation in the early 19th century across Europe and America which developed through the decades into representation in wage and working condition negotiations, but also in protecting the health, safety and welfare of workers.

“It became the remit of legislators with a social conscience to understand that governments had a moral and legal responsibility to protect workers using general and industry specific safety legislation.”

One clear example of how unsafe and dangerous work conditions had become during the industrial revolution can be seen in this extract relating to an early 20th century mining disaster in West Virginia, USA.

What are the implications?

Safety management should be considered as a part of the overall business management system of an organisation and not an add-on to it. Increasingly, management standards across a range of business functions such as environment, quality and safety are now being designed so that these traditionally disparate elements can be integrated and managed within a single business management system and not as separate functions.

How does it works?

What are the basic safety management components?

It Provides a Systematic Way to Continuously Identify and Monitor Hazards and Control Risks

While maintaining assurance that these risk controls are effective.

There are three imperatives for adopting a safety management system for a business – these are ethical, legal and financial. There is an implied moral obligation placed upon an employer to ensure that work activities and the place of work are safe, there are legislative requirements defined in every jurisdiction on how this is to be achieved and there is a substantial body of evidence which shows that effective safety management can reduce the financial exposure and damage to the reputation of an organisation by reducing accidents.

To address these three important elements, an safety management system should:

International Labour Organization Model

3.26 MB, PDF File

This document is one of the most basic and adaptable models for organisations to utilise.

Although other safety management models may use different terminology, the basic components and workflow for safety management systems will be the same. The desired outcome is an effective Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) process where the goal is that of continual and measurable improvement.

On The X - Fishing, Waterfowl & More

Published on 24 November 2020

Over time, particular safety management models can become a preferred standard within an industry sector which is an approach often driven by industry representative bodies or trade associations. In industries where public safety is a prime consideration or where organisations operate in a high risk industry sector, specific regulations may be introduced which detail requirements that fit the industry risk profile.