Health and Safety Management Systems

Health and Safety Management Systems

A health and safety management system (HSMS) is a range of formalised systems, processes, procedures and documents which help organisations meet their legal duty to put in place suitable arrangements to manage for health and safety. Health and safety systems, processes and documents should be functional and concise, with the emphasis on their effectiveness rather than size. Whatever industry or size or nature of an organisation, the keys to effective management of health and safety are:

  • leadership and management (including appropriate business processes)
  • a trained/skilled workforce
  • an environment where people are trusted and involved

Responsibilities should be clearly identified and held to account for achieving the creation of a health and safety policy and associated objectives. An HSMS helps coordinate and direct an organisation’s activities to meet employee, customer and regulatory requirements. Contributory factors which lead to accidents, incidents and near misses are an indication of chronic inefficiency. Organisations that manage these factors effectively go some way to improving effectiveness and efficiency on a continual basis.

Many organisations take the chance of operating their business without due care and attention to their health and safety legal requirements. The real costs of this approach are:

  • Inefficiency and ineffectiveness
  • Substandard working conditions
  • Low employee moral
  • Increased risk of legal action
  • Loss of reputation

The internationally recognised OHSAS 18001 standard provides a framework for the effective management of health and safety within the workplace. By continually minimising the opportunity for accidents, demonstrating legislative compliance and commitment to a safe and healthy place to work an organisation can:

  • Clearly identify hazards and risks
  • Commit to safe systems of work
  • Communicate the necessary emergency procedures
  • Promote health and safety and demonstrate taking it seriously
  • Keep on top of changes to legislation
  • Increase productivity by reducing lost time due to accidents and disruptions
  • Win more business by meeting tendering requirements