The Challenges of Harnessing the Potential of Safety Management Systems

May 05, 2014, 06:00 ET from American Society of Safety Engineers

DES PLAINES, Ill., May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As more companies shift to using safety management systems to monitor their occupational health and safety programs, the American Society of Safety Engineer's monthly journal says the potential they hold may be lost if not properly integrated or measured against set goals. The devil is in the details.

Those are the warnings in the cover story of ASSE's Professional Safety, titled "Safety Management Systems, Comparing Content & Impact," written by authors Joel Haight, Patrick Yorio, Kristen Rost and Dana Willmer

The advantage of using an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OSHMS) is the ability for a system-wide record-keeping, document control and integrated tracking in one place.  This consistency allows for sound, cost-effective, risk-reducing interventions that are consistent with overall system objectives.

However, proper planning is needed to ensure a company captures the correct data. "In the planning process, an organization must first identify and prioritize its risks, then develop plans necessary to minimize this risk, set performance objectives and facilitate management buy in and employee ownership," the authors write.

In terms of measuring effectiveness, an organization can rely on many of the intervention activities that make up existing safety programs to form the foundation of OSHMS implementation. The state of the available research is such that anyone can determine what variables indicate OSHMS performance; they can determine how best to quantify and measure those variables, the article states.

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SOURCE American Society of Safety Engineers