Often businesses will have had safety management systems in place for years and years. But despite the changing times, the safety management procedures will stay the same. This really doesn’t make sense, or meet compliance standards. Working to a safety system that has no prior planning behind it is a recipe for disaster.
Then on the other hand, there are businesses who are putting a new safety management procedure in place, but are doing so using a generic system. Without setting boundaries and defining the specifics within your business, a safety management system isn’t going to work to its full potential.
That’s why the planning stage of safety management is so important. We’re unpacking that further in this article.
Why is planning crucial to safety management?
SafeWork Australia sums it up well by stating that the planning stages involve:
“The work performed to define the scope, boundaries and performance objectives of a specific SMS component”.
In essence, the planning stages need to define exactly what each part of the safety management system is hoping to achieve, and set clear objectives on how to get there.
When planning, businesses will need to take into account the specific risks of the business, and assess where how they can be mitigated.
To plan effectively, businesses might carry out a safety audit which includes a risk assessment, as well as looking at any prior incidents and how they occurred. It can also be beneficial to talk to various members of the team and take their feedback onboard, as often different team members will be able to add different insights.
Adequate control of these risks will only be achieved if planning is carried out beforehand in order to really establish what is going on within the organisation. From there, you can implement an effective safety management system.
What kind of planning should go into safety management systems?
When planning prior to implementing a safety management system, you need to scope the kind of hazards and the measures that are already in place to mitigate them.
You need to assess where the organisation is at present, by considering accurate information about the current situation. From there you can look at where you want to progress to, using industry governing bodies and legal requirements to guide you.
The areas of planning that could precede a safety management system are:
- A safety audit
- An assessment of prior incidents
- An assessment of emergency procedures
- An audit of current knowledge and understanding within the business
- Legal and compliance requirements that must be adhered to
- Planning the specific risks of the industry and/or workplace
- Assessing who is responsible for workplace safety and how roles will be assigned
- Planning when reviews will take place
How should planning be carried out?
Planning should be carried out with a few things in mind that will help you achieve the best outcome. The planning you undertake should be:
- Accurate: it’s vital that risks are assessed accurately, current procedures are assessed accurately and information is accurate. They provide the solid foundations for the entire system to function.
- Flexible and ongoing: while you may undertake some intensive planning before implementing a safety system, the process should be ongoing as new risks present themselves within your organisation.
- Inclusive: while planning, the more people you can include in the process the better. Every individual will have their own viewpoint and may be able to add valuable insight about what should be included in the safety management system.
Do you need help with planning your safety procedures? Beakon can help. Find out more about our safety management system and how we can protect your business and keep your people safe.