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What Is the Role of Safety Management Systems?

Importance of safety management systems at work

Most of us can agree that job safety is a significant concern, no matter where we work. Obviously, we spend a significant amount of our time in the workplace, so we should feel that our employers are making safety and security a top priority. It is in a company’s best interest to ensure their employees’ occupational health and safety because injuries and illnesses on the job can significantly hinder staff productivity and, in turn, reduce profitability.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration within the U.S. Department of Labor, workplace injuries and illnesses cost American businesses an avoidable $170 billion per year. One of the best ways for businesses to stem workplace accidents and ensure employee health and productivity is by relying on a safety management system.

What Is a Safety Management System?

A safety management system is a series of policies and procedures organizations use to reduce accidents and illnesses among employees. According to OSHA, “Effective Safety and Health Management Systems (SHMS) have proven to be a decisive factor in reducing the extent and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses. SHMS will result in reduced injury-related costs. These savings, when properly administered, will exceed the cost of a workplace SHMS.”

Research shows that the successful adoption of a safety management system relies a great deal on the level of commitment from both management and employees, as well as an adequate commitment of resources to design and enforce the system. While each safety management system is unique, key components usually include hazard assessment, inspections, incident reporting systems, worker training and performance measuring tools. According to OSHA, “The best Safety and Health Programs involve every level of the organization, instilling a safety culture that reduces accidents for workers and improves the bottom line for managers. When Safety and Health are part of the organization and a way of life, everyone wins.”

Workers commitment to an organization’s occupational health and safety and the adoption of a safety management system can be important issues for any company, no matter its size or what it produces. Presently, these safety processes are predominantly used in what are considered high-risk industries, such as the maritime and train transportation industries and most notably in aviation. It is clear that transportation companies, which move massive numbers of people daily, work under an added imperative to reduce accidents and ensure safety.

Learn More About Safety Management Systems

Constantly evolving federal policies and laws make occupational health and safety increasingly important for every organization. Anyone hoping to work in corporate leadership should familiarize themselves with the development and implementation of safety management systems.

Recognizing the growing importance of workplace safety, some MBA programs, including Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s, offer courses with a focus on safety concerns. The coursework offers an overview of safety programs, as well as workplace legal liability and workers compensation. These courses help prepare you for a leadership role in safety program management. Degree candidates study the curriculum they need to advise companies on safety best practices and to implement safety protocols.

Learn more about the SOSU online MBA with an emphasis in Safety.


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