Maintaining a safety management system (SMS)
A safety management system (SMS) should include some means for the operator to formally review the system’s performance and develop improvements based on the results of the review.
There are many ways to review safety performance, but an assessment commonly consists of reviews by the management committee in association with health and safety representatives, often with assistance from technical specialists.
The system should also provide a means of prioritising action items and improvements, with higher priority being given to higher risk issues. Progress on action items should be formally tracked.
When should an SMS be reviewed?
The elements of an SMS should be reviewed regularly and, if necessary, revised. A review should be done:
- if a risk control measure is revised
- before making a significant change to the mining operations
- if a notifiable incident occurs at the mine
- if an audit of performance standards indicates a deficiency in a risk control measure
- after a worker's task is changed in response to health surveillance results
- if there is evidence that a risk control measure does not adequately control the risk
- if a health and safety representative at the mine requests the review
What should be considered during the review?
The review should consider:
- the extent to which objectives and targets have been met
- the continuing suitability of the SMS in relation to any changing conditions and new information
- stakeholder concerns.
What information can assist the SMS review?
Information that can help with the review includes:
- results of any internal or system audits
- reports on work health and safety performance
- incident reports and investigations
- hazard identification and risk assessment activities
- changes to work health and safety laws
- changes to work health and safety standards
- changing community expectations.
Self-auditing is a useful tool, and audits available from the department that may assist in the SMS review are listed below.