A formal safety management system (SMS) is a comprehensive safety framework usually linked to a recognised set of accredited standards. There is no legal requirement for employers to have a formal SMS in place. However, many employers adopt an SMS as the best way of demonstrating their commitment to safety and their compliance with the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and associated statutory requirements.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to monitor and review the preventive and protective measures they have in place to control risks to health and safety. Monitoring is often supported through auditing health and safety performance, sometimes as part of an SMS.

This topic looks at how to select and implement an appropriate SMS. It also covers effective audit.

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