Inertia Safety Limited

Overview of Safety Management Systems

Most companies are familiar with management systems like those used to comply with ISO 9001 for quality of products.  Following many of the same principles, management systems can also be put in place to control health and safety.

A health and safety management system is the name given to the collection of procedures and policies that cover health and safety in your workplace.  A good health and safety management system will allow you to improve your company's health and safety performance over time.  A poor health and safety system will lead to missing important health and safety requirement, and potentially more work-related accidents and ill-health.

The good news is that the principles behind a good health and safety management system are straight forward and will be familiar to those who have work with other management systems such as 9001.  The bad news is that you will need commitment from senior management in order to make the system work effectively.  This commitment will be in the form of resources - mainly in terms of people's time.

The importance of involving others in the both management and the workforce should be underestimated to ensure that the system is adopted rather than imposed.


There are some free resources for safety management systems:

  • HSG 65 "managing for health and safety"- the HSE's approach to occupational health and safety management systems is available as a guide to download or as website which can be found on the HSE's website - CLICK HERE
  • The International Labour Organization's "Guidelines on occupational safety and health management systems (ILO-OSH 2001)" can be downloaded for free - CLICK HERE

If you want to eventually get external certification then BS OHSAS 18001 is probably the best choice.  The requirements for the standard can be purchased from the BSI web site - CLICK HERE. If you are looking to implement BS OHSAS 18001 then BS OHSAS 18002 contains all of the text of the requirements from BS OHSAS 18001 together with guidance on how the system might be implemented, this standard can be purchased from the BSI website - CLICK HERE.

Note: BS OHSAS 18001 is expected to be superseded in 2016 by ISO 45000.

Which ever system you deiced to use the ultimate aim is to make a safer workplace through continual improvement.  All of the systems drive your towards looking for opportunities for improvement in the way that occupational health and safety is managed in the workplace.

CLICK HERE to go to learn more about health and safety management systems.

Or CLICK HERE to go find out more about health and safety.