Safety Management Systems – FAQs

What is a management system?

A management system is a formal system for setting out what needs to be done, by whom, to what standard and when.  It also sets out the way in which the system will be monitored to ensure thats it’s working as expected.

In small low-risk organisations its usually simply and easy to implement.  However as organisations grow, the importance of the system and it’s complexity can grow considerably.

What does the law require of management systems?

The law requires you to have effective arrangements in place for the planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of protective measures.

What if I don’t have a proper management system for health and safety?

A management system is a legal duty so the company, and it’s senior managers can be held responsible for any resulting accidents and injuries.  Likely your organisation will be less efficient and profitable without well considered systems.

Productions have occurred where there have been no accidents but poor management created unacceptable risk to staff and others.

Are there set standards for management systems?

Management systems tend to follow a standard, “Plan, Do, Check, Act” cycle.  This is true of quality systems and health and safety systems.  The most common standards for health and safety management are HSG(65), usually applied by companies whiteout externally accredited systems and BS 18001 for those who are externally accredited.

Smaller organisations often adopt their own or client based standards.

Should I get accredited to ISO 45001 instead of BS 18001?

ISO 45001 is yet to be published.  The ISO committee next need in November 2017 and may publish the standard then.  However it is more likely to be the first quarter of 2018.

It is recommended to seek accreditation to BS 18001 and then transition to ISO 45001 when it becomes available.  It is expected to be a three year transition period and the change should be straight forward.

ISO 45001 is written to align (ISO 18001 – HSE) with management systems for quality and environment.  This makes creating and integrated system much easier.