Developing and implementing Safety Management Systems that are communicated thoroughly, easily navigated and functionally effective, is essential in meeting the specific dynamics of your business and of course, the regulatory environment, today. However, we really need to ask ourselves IF these systems are truly effective, understood, or are simply a process or act of necessity, i.e., ticking the regulatory or corporate ‘box’.
Since 1991, we have been developing, assessing and measuring the performance of Safety Management systems, and a somewhat concerning observation has consistently come to light.
The critical safety systems, which are designed specifically to reduce known hazards and risks, are not implemented or effectively communicated, to the workforce. They are traditionally over-engineered, safe work procedures are written without the collaboration of skilled workers or subject matter experts and, are mostly unavailable to those that matter.
Consulting on a very large-scale construction Project in Singapore recently, the following questions were asked of over 150 workers, supervisors ‘and’ managers. Here are the results of those questions, and I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a case for genuine concern
Does this Project have a Project Safety Management Plan or System?
14% – Yes, 79% – I don’t know, 7% – I think so.
Do you have direct access to Safe Work procedures related to your role?
11% – Yes, 63% – I don’t know, 26% – No.
As a Manager or Supervisor, are you ever consulted with or been asked to assist in the development or revision, of critical Safe Work procedures?
87% – No, 6% – Yes, 7% – Sometimes.
So there you have it. Let’s go back to the very beginning of this article, have we truly asked ourselves the questions that need to be asked? Sure, you have an all-singing and all-dancing Safety Management System, but is it as meaningful and as effective, as its intended purpose?
Sometimes, the issue isn’t what it seems, often within Safety, it’s simply a case of knowing ‘what’ questions to ask, therefore, enabling us to develop and adopt informed strategies and solutions.