Safety Management System – What is It?

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What is Safety Management System (SMS)?

Application of set of precautions, principles and frameworks to prevent injuries, accidents and other losses, is called safety management.

Safety management system is the function which helps the managers discharge their responsibilities for implementation and operational design in a better way. It also helps to predict the system deficiencies before any accident occurs.

The safety management system identifies the errors and deficiencies in the system by analysis of safety of the whole system.

SMS involves organizational structures, policies, procedures and accountabilities. It implies a systematic approach for the management of the safety of the whole organization.

What is the Objective of Safety Management System?

The main objective  is to take the complete care of the safety in the industry.

Its goal is to prevent human from injury or losing life due to any accident during work. It also protects the environment and property from damage.

Elements of Safety Management

There are twelve main elements of universally accepted framework. These elements represent the minimum requirements for the SMS.

Some other safety management have more than 12 elements. These elements are

  • Safety risk management
  • Internal safety investigation
  • Hazard identification
  • Safety accountabilities
  • SMS implementation
  • Safety communication
  • Safety assurance
  • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Training and education
  • Safety policy and objectives
  • SMS documentation
  • Safety promotion

Effective Tasks of Safety Management

In order to keep the environment and the whole industry safe, the safety management should do the following tasks

  • Define the best setting of the organization to handle risks.
  • Identify the risks as early as possible and implement such rules and controls which can reduce the risks or dangers from risks.
  • Implement an identifying system which detect non-compliance issues and correct them.
  • Make the effective safety communications across all levels of the organization with the help of managers.
  • Make the continual improvements.

Adopting SMS

Safety management can be adopted in three imperatives. These are ethical, legal and financial. There are implied moral obligations.

These obligations are placed on the employers to ensure that the place of work and the work activity are safe and secure from the risks of injuries or accidents.

Relation Between Safety Management and Risk Management

Safety management is directly related to the risk management. Effective risk management is the foundation of an effective SMS.

All the risks defined by the risk management are carefully considered by the SMS. To handle these risks identification, evaluation and treatment of risks are focused in the SMS.

Risk management system contains the risk profile of an organization. A large number of modules, created by risk management system, are used to recognize and identify the risks.

Development of Management Standards

Over time, security management models in particular can become a preferred standard in the industry, a method often run by industry representative organizations or trade associations.

In industries where public safety is a key consideration or where organizations operate in high-risk industry sectors, specific rules and regulations may be introduced that provide the details required by the industry risk profile, such as process SMS.

Regulatory Perspective

SMS should not be ignored. It should be considered as the most important part of the business management system of an organization.

It is not the thing out of business, because a large number of profits or losses are directly related to it.

Increasingly, business functions such as environment, quality and SMS standards are now designed to integrate and manage different elements into one business management system rather than traditionally separate and distinct tasks.

The health management system is also related to the SMS. Because a close relation of these business standards the SMS is also named as OHSMS (occupational health and safety management system).

These two managing systems perform a great role in the businesses and industries after combination.


A safety management demands a good implication. An effective SMS implements its rules and ensures that it is looking at all type of dangers or risks which can be possible.

Organization Responsibility Towards Staff

The main responsibility of an organization is the training of staff for the consistency of safety environment.

It is also a difficult task. Staff will need the training and review the other resources in order to collect documents for the safety library of an organization.

You should educate your staff through the effective communication. Internal and external training plays a great role in the staff education.

For this purpose organizations should also provide the information about safety in the safety bulletins of organization.

A company with trained staff has many advantages and gets security from large amount of losses.

Below are some extra important responsibilities towards staff:

  • Training the staff
  • Ensure that all workers at all levels aware about safety rules, risks and hazards, emergency situations, and all other SMS concerns.
  • Safety should be a personal culture at the organization.
  • All safety data and documentations should be available for all staff

Historical Context

The counterweight to the exploitation of the workers results in the formation of SMS in the 20th century.

Its establishment was a necessity for the industries of the 20th century because the industrial crises are increasing day by day.

The labor at that time contained the untrained workers and even children due to which a number of deaths are happening day by day.

To minimize all these crises legislation were introduced. As more legislation was introduced about industry, general safety and health, employers feel it necessary to produce a framework which contains all the safety rules and make it easy to manage and understand these safety rules.

This was also necessary to avoid fines and costs for non-compliance. The safety management rules were also most important for the workers health and safety. This framework can prevent workers from accidents and losing their lives.