Is it possible to get more out of your safety management system (SMS)? Can SMS 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 a 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 the SMS in a more progressive way? Recognising this, the Safety Policy Group (SPG) remitted RSSB to develop new guidance on how to develop SMS, beyond compliance.
The new guidance is aimed at senior managers who work closely with the organisation’s SMS and other stakeholders who wish to make their SMS more effective. The guidance should be used to prompt thought and discussion within an organisation so that managers are able to make the most appropriate decisions to improve the effectiveness of the SMS at the most opportune times. The SMS therefore becomes effective through considered effort over time rather than at the end of a series of prescribed steps.
There are 4 sections that cover:
- The evolution of safety arrangements; to highlight how the past may be influencing our current SMS ideas and activities
- Shaping the system; which develops systems principles so that they can be used to strengthen the concept and alignment of the SMS toward the organisation’s needs
- The SMS in practice; recognises that the systems developed need to be compatible and coordinated throughout the organisation to be effective
- System performance and maturity; to show that excellence is linked to sound systems principles
The guidance is supported by the research document
Safety Management Principles – moving beyond compliance.