Inertia Safety Limited

Safety Management Systems - Plan

The information below gives more detail on the "plan" section of the management system together with links to external websites that contain relevant resources.


Within the safety management system the "policy" (also called the health and safety policy statement), sets out what the system needs to achieve. Generally, this may include commitments to:

  • preventing injury and ill-health,
  • complying with applicable legislation as a minimum standard,
  • improving health and safety performance,
  • setting and reviewing health and safety objectives,
  • communicating health and safety information to all persons affected by the company's operations, and
  • reviewing and updating the policy and system as business needs change.

The policy is best written by a senior manager as this encourages ownership and shows the company that health and safety is taken seriously by management.

The policy should be reviewed frequently to ensure that any changes in the company's circumstances are reflected in the policy.  This could be in terms of changes in location, additional risks from new materials, equipment or processes or to reflect areas where improvements health and safety need to be made.

The policy is a statement of requirements and objectives that the management system needs to meet.  All other safety management system activities need to relate back to the policy to ensure that these goals are being met.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Identifying all of the hazards that exist within the company is an important first step.  Some hazards will be obvious and familiar from your day to day business undertakings.  However, others may not be so obvious if they are outside of people's day-to-day activities.  These outliers could include stress, effects from chemical substances, pressurised systems, electricity and vibration.

To view a list of common hazards - CLICK HERE

Once all of the hazards have been identified, it is time to risk assess them and determine what additional controls may be required.  To see how to carry out a simple risk assessment - CLICK HERE

Defining the System Requirements

The system requirements will generally come from the policy statement as described above.  For most safety management systems compliance with applicable legislation will be the most important requirement.

A list of UK health and safety legislation can be found by following this link:

If a specific management system approach (e.g. HSG 65, ILO-OSH, BS OHSAS 18001) is to be adopted  as a framework, then additional requirements may also come from these standards.  These additional requirements could include what sort of information needs to be documented within the system, specific requirements for the policy statement and carrying out auditing on a frequency determined on a risk-based approach.

Management System Objectives

These are the medium to long term goals of the management system.  Where does the management system and health and safety performance need to be in the next 12 months to 2 years?

Initially, these objectives may be to ensure legislative compliance or the successful achievement of an external certification assessment of the management system against BS OHSAS 18001.  As the system matures different objectives will become relevant.

Managing Actions

The implementation of a management system will lead to a large number of improvement actions being generated during the development of the system.  It is important that all of these actions are captured and managed to ensure that they are successfully implemented. 

This could be achieved by maintaining a single list that contains all of the outstanding health and safety related actions.  The list could be reviewed periodically by management to ensure that actions are being completed in an acceptable time frame, and to discuss any resourcing issues.

Actions should be framed following the "SMART" approach. So they should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

Combining the SMART approach with a frequently reviewed action list is a great way to push through improvements in health and safety performance.

To move on to the "Do" section of safety management systems CLICK HERE

To go back to the introduction to management systems  CLICK HERE