6 Elements for good Safety Management (HSE-MS)


Safety Management is a system adopted for managing Health and Safety issues in our workplaces; it can also be referred to as Health Safety and Environment Management System (HSE-MS). It contains a specialized structure which makes the whole process of managing Health and Safety successful.

There has been different Health Safety and Environment management systems proposed by different organizations, they are:

  • OHSAS 18001 – 2007: This was developed in conjunction with the ISO 9000 series for quality management and the ISO 14001 series for environmental management.
  • ILO-OSH 2001: This was developed by the ILO (International Labour Organization) after an extensive study of many occupational Health and safety management systems used across the world.
  • HSG (65): This was developed by the UK HSE. This management system is extensively used in the UK and is the only HSE-MS recognized by NEBOSH. So, if asked in NEBOSH exams about the HSE-MS, they expect you to talk about the HSG (65)

Though the different Safety management systems approaches Health and Safety a bit differently, they all contain the basic elements for a successful Safety management.

The basic elements of the Safety Management System are:

  • Policy
  • Organizing
  • Planning and implementation
  • Measuring performance
  • Reviewing performance
  • Audit

All the elements in the Safety Management System are integral to a successful Health and safety program in any organization.

At this point, we will be considering the  six (6) elements for good safety management:



The Health and Safety policy detects the direction of the organization with regards to Health and Safety. It states what the organization Health and safety objectives and put machinery in place to achieve those objectives.

The Health and safety policy is divided into 3 parts:

  • The general statement of intent: This expresses the organization’s commitment to Health and Safety. This indicates that the Health and safety policy is accepted by the organizations since it must be endorsed by the senior management.
  • Organizing: This involves the sharing of Health and Safety role among members across all hierarchy. Responsible persons must be made to be aware of their responsibilities and also held accountable for failures.
  • Systems, Arrangement and Procedures: This involves all programs put in place to ensure the achievement of the Health and safety objectives. Example: Induction, Training, Emergency plan, First aid, Inspection and Audit plan, PTW, etc.



This section helps set clear responsibilities and line of communication to everyone in the organization. The responsibilities must be clear. Responsibilities should be spread through all the ranks, like the Directors, Senior Managers, Supervisors, Health and Safety Representatives, Specialists (Occupational nurses, Environmentalist, Fire fighters, etc), first aiders, employees, etc.



In some Health Safety and Environment Management systems, planning is separated from implementation. However, be it merged or separated, the important aspect is that they are very important elements of the Health Safety and Environment Management System.

Planning involve the process where ideas are given, decisions made and resources allotted to ensure the achievement of the Health and Safety objectives stipulated in the Health and safety policy.

This planning phase should produce a system that can detect unsafe acts and conditions, hazards, risks, failures which could cause accidents, injury and loss; with controls and recovery measures.

Before planning can be prospective, it has to take into consideration the current state of the Health and safety system, before proposing what needs to be achieved. This will require carrying out risk assessment on the entire project to detect loop holes in the current system.

After a successful planning phase, all the structures on paper has to be fully implemented if the objectives of the Health and safety policy is to be met.



Measuring performance involves assessing how well the controls put in place has been able to improve Health and safety at work.

Reviewing Performance involves comparing the Health and safety achievements to the set objectives.

Audit involves comparing the outcome of your performance review to organizational standards and best practices.

After auditing, the result of the audit will guide on what to do the next. If the outcome shows lapse in the Health Safety and Environment Management System, then a review will be needed to ensure continual improvement.