Health and safety management systems

A formal management system or framework can help you manage health and safety; it's your decision whether to use one or not. Examples include:

Although the language and methodology vary, the key actions can usually be traced back to Plan, Do, Check, Act.


Keep health and safety documents functional and concise, with the emphasis on their effectiveness rather than sheer volume of paperwork.

Focusing too much on the formal documentation of a health and safety management system will distract you from addressing the human elements of its implementation - the focus becomes the process of the system itself rather than actually controlling risks.

Attitudes and behaviours

Effectively managing for health and safety is not just about having a management or safety management system. The success of whatever process or system is in place still hinges on the attitudes and behaviours of people in the organisation (this is sometimes referred to as the 'safety culture').

The examples in Are you doing what you need to do? against the key areas of 'What it looks like when done effectively' indicate positive health and safety attitudes and behaviours. On the other hand, the examples provided of 'What it looks like when done badly or not at all' could indicate underlying cultural issues.

Updated: 2013-05-09