How to implement a successful health and safety management plan

Table of Contents

Safety management is an organisation’s overall plan and system which lays out the company’s Occupational Health and Safety objectives and strategy. A safety management system can be structured in any format and contain any content, but it must entail, cover, and adhere to the important sections and requirements of the OHS Act

What elements form part of a safety management system?

  1. Health and safety policy
    • A health and safety policy is developed in order to create a healthy, safe, and prepared working environment for the employees, visiting clients, contractors, and suppliers. The health and safety policy is part of the safety management system and must be communicated to all employees within the organisation, who must be made aware of specific and general OHS-related content, requirements, and objectives of safety management.
  2. Structures and Organogram
    • OHS team structures and organograms should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that there are no non-compliances, vacancies, or gaps within the structures and then saved in the safety management system documentation and policies. The OHS structure in each office location should include an OHS supervisor, OHS representatives, first aiders, fire wardens, and evacuation marshals.
  3. Appointments
    • OHS team member appointments are critical elements of the safety management system, as these appointees assist in managing and driving OHS generally and on specific matters and challenges. Safety management is managed, implemented, and supported by the entire OHS team and supported by the organisation’s management team.
  4. OHS committee
    • The OHS committee is one of the primary driving forces mandated by the organisation’s to assist in developing and driving safety management. Through communication and teamwork, the OHS committee assists and contributes to the success of the safety management system. The success of the system is directly related to the success of the OHS committee.
  5. OHS training
    • All organisations need to send staff on safety management courses training, which is an OHS Act compliance requirement. Once trained, each OHS team member takes an active role in implementing and managing OHS in each office within the organization. The compliance required OHS and safety management courses and their durations are as follows:
          • First Aiders – 2 ½ days;  
          • Firefighters – 1 day;
          • Evacuation Marshals – 1 day;  
          • OHS Representatives – 1 day;
          • OHS Supervisor – 2 days
    • The OHS training must be completed through a Health and Welfare SETA and Department of Labour accredited company like Absolute Health Services.
  6. OHS equipment
    • OHS and emergency equipment must be strategically placed in all the office locations of the entire organization, to be utilized by the OHS teams in emergencies or evacuation drills and include equipment such as:
          • first aid boxes, 
          • firefighting equipment, 
          • evacuation plans, 
          • loud and clear devices or hailers etc.

When the safety management system is developed, there must be funds allocated for the purchase of any required OHS equipment, which will assist the OHS team in attending to emergencies and ensure health and safety compliance in the workplace.    

The correct process to follow when implementing and maintaining a successful safety management system

It is important to follow the correct process when implementing a safety management system. Listed below is an example that management could utilize:

  • Policy

Management must develop the OHS and emergency evacuation policies in consultation with the employees or their OHS representatives. These policies will form part of the safety management system and detail the OHS direction, aims, objectives and commitment to manage elements of the safety management system correctly, with the view to continual review and improvement.   

  • Organising

To promote a positive safety culture within the organisation and determining the roles, responsibilities and resources required to provide for a thorough safety management system the organisation scan use the 4C’s:

    • Competency of employees – knowledge, ability, training and experience;
    • Commitment and control – allocating responsibilities and accountabilities;
    • Co-operation internally and externally – between employees, contractors and others
    • Communication systems – orally, written, visibly implemented.
  • Planning and Implementation

Conduct an initial documented review and assessment of the organization to establish the status of the current safety management system and current health and safety related hazards and risks. Thereafter set safety management objectives and targets and set standards which comply with the OHS Act e.g. safety management budget, conducting regular risk assessments, implementing safe systems of work, purchasing policies, emergency procedures etc to achieve the safety management objectives.

  • Measurement of performance (evaluation)

Develop procedures and systems to monitor, measure and record the safety system performance, on a regular basis at different levels within the entire organization. This can be achieved by “active monitoring”, or “re-active monitoring” Through this evaluation the organization has a benchmark to strive in improving on the safety management within the workplace, year by year.  

  • Review

This is the annual review and evaluation of all the elements of the safety management system by management, or the OHS committee, to ensure the performance objectives have been met. There is always room for improvement in safety management when looking after the health, safety, and wellbeing of the employees! 

Absolute Health Services Safety Management Services

Absolute Health Services has a team of competent and professional health and safety practitioners that are able to assist organisations with implementing and maintaining an effective safety management system anywhere within South Africa.

Free Health and Safety Workplace Guide

Our comprehensive Health and Safety Guide is designed to simplify the process of implementing effective workplace safety practices. It provides clear and practical guidance to help employers, including HR and HSE managers, achieve compliance with regulations and create a safe working environment for their employees.