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SMS - Safety Made Simple

Written by Jamen Wilcox – Senior Consultant - WHS & HR Consulting Services

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 came into effect on the 1st of January 2012. That means 18 months ago, unless you live in WA or Victoria, it was expected that your business would be compliant with Harmonised Work Health and Safety Laws.

So, where are you up too?

If you haven’t quite yet started or you have had a look and decided it seems a bit too difficult or you’re far too busy, you’re not alone. Many businesses I have worked with, both large and small, have either looked through all the information,  attended seminars and thought that it all seemed too difficult or were far too busy actually running their business to worry about setting up a Safety Management System (what SMS actually stands for)  and dealing with the extra paperwork and hassle.

Safety doesn’t have to be hard.

Setting up a SMS that is compliant with the harmonized Work Health and Safety Act doesn’t need to be a convoluted process completely divorced from the everyday workings of your business. In fact, it should be the exact opposite.

An effective SMS needs to be efficient. It must utilise your exiting frameworks and personnel without overly interfering with the work they do every day. If there is too much paperwork, too much change or if your staff can’t see and feel the positive effects of what you are trying to achieve, your SMS is doomed to sit on the bookshelf with all the other manuals you have purchased through the years.

The 5 simple steps.

  1. Review what you have in place.
     
  • Getting a snapshot of where your business currently sits is an essential step to developing a plan on how to effectively develop and implement your SMS. List all your activities, plant, chemicals and hazards and get together any policies, procedures and registers you may have.
     
  1. Identify the Gaps
     
  • Having gathered all this information, do you now know what is missing? Are all your staff trained and qualified to do what they do? Do you have policies and procedures for all the activities that you undertake? Is all your plant maintained and in good repair? Are all your chemicals in order?
     
  1. Fill in the Gaps
     
  • If you are like most businesses you know how to do your job. But like many businesses you have never documented what you do.  Don’t reinvent the wheel, just capture all the things you are already doing to keep your workers safe and involve them in this process.
     
  1. Train your staff
     
  • Now you have documented your “best practice”, make sure all your workers know how the work is supposed to be done. Did you know that a majority of injuries at work are caused by manual handling? Train your staff on how to move and lift and you will reduce injuries and saving your some money at the same time.
     
  1. Start again
     
  • A Safety Management System is never really finished and going through the above 4 steps will take some time. Have you bought some new equipment or started a new activity? Do you have new workers or moved to new premises? What else can you do to keep your workers safe and ensure that your system is monitored?
     
Need some help?

Of course, Australian Business Consulting & Solutions has a number of Consultants that can assist you through this process and provide the expert advice you may need to ensure all the gaps in your SMS are identified and addressed but nothing is stopping you from starting today. A Safety Management System works best when it is developed and tailored around your needs and that’s what our Consultants do every day.

It’s your business, it should be your SMS. 

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