Moving Beyond Compliance

Would you like your safety management system to deliver wider benefits such as helping to improve performance and reducing cost?

​Although legislation influencing organisations’ safety management has evolved through time, the specific requirement to have an SMS came in with ROGS (The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006). Railway undertakings and transport operators need to comply with requirements, but is there now an opportunity to think about your SMS in a more progressive way?

RSSB has developed guidance aimed at senior managers who work closely with their organisation’s SMS and other stakeholders who want to make their SMS more effective. The purpose of the guidance is to provoke thought and discussion within rail organisations about the underlying factors that contribute to the effective working of the SMS in practice. The guidance is structured into four sections:

  • Section 1: The evolution of safety arrangements – explains how safety arrangements have evolved over time, influenced by lessons learned from major accidents, key legislation and quality standards, that led to the development of an SMS.
  • Section 2: Shaping the system – highlights the importance of having a clear purpose for the organisation’s SMS which is bespoke to its individual circumstances and operating risk. Lack of clarity and drive in this area typically leads to uncertainty and apathy within the organisation and has been a root cause of major accidents described in the document.
  • Section 3: The system in practice – discusses the drivers to improve the SMS in practice, the advantages of a management style and approach that encourages and empowers continuous improvement at all levels, and how using data correctly can help assure the effective use of the SMS.
  • Section 4: System performance and maturity – focuses on what this means for an individual organisation, the difference between ‘excellence’ and ‘gold-plating’, and what is involved in going beyond simple compliance.
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