Safety Management System (SMS): What Is It And How to Implement One for Safer Business Operations?

Safety Management System (SMS) What Is It And How to Implement One for Safer Business Operations

Every business wants to keep its employees and customers safe, but not every business has a safety management system (SMS) in place to do so. A safety management system is a structured, company-wide approach to managing safety risks. It provides effective risk-based decision-making for daily business functions.

This article will discuss a safety management system and why you should implement it in your business. Keep reading to learn more!


What is a Safety Management System?

A safety management system, or SMS, is a collection of processes that are designed to manage safety risks. It helps businesses offer products and services at the highest level of safety and maintain safe operations. 

SMS also serves as a formal way of complying with statutory requirements such as the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 14, which is enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) states that the key process of SMS involves risk management, hazard identification, performance measurement, risk management, quality assurance, and occurrence reporting.


Components and Elements of Safety Management System

SMS has four components in its framework, often referred to as the ‘4 Pillars of SMS.’ These are:

  • Safety Risk Management
  • Safety Policy and Objectives
  • Safety Promotion
  • Safety Assurance


Each of these components contains elements that discuss specific needs for successful implementation and maintenance of an SMS. ICAO developed 12 SMS elements that fall under each of these four categories:


Safety Risk Management

To effectively control and mitigate safety risks, designated staff members should perform safety risk management processes. It involves focusing on anticipating and mitigating risks as the process levels. This process involves two components:


Hazard Identification

You must establish a formal hazard identification process to identify potential safety hazards. This can be done through safety audits, safety observations, safety reports, and safety investigations.


Hazard Control and Mitigation

After hazards are identified, you will need to take steps to control and mitigate them. This is done by implementing safety controls, which can be administrative, procedural, or physical in nature.


Safety Policy and Objectives

Every employer should make safety a central part of company values, demonstrating their commitment to safety in both words and actions. The safety policy should be created with the help of employees, management, safety professionals, and other stakeholders. 

It should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it is still relevant and effective. The safety policy should be easily accessible to all employees. This process involves five components:


Management and Commitment

Management needs to be fully committed to safety for the SMS to succeed. Safety must be included in the company’s core values and goals.


Roles, Responsibilities, and Authorities

It is important to designate specific roles, responsibilities, and authorities regarding safety. This will ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them and who to go to with safety concerns.


Appointment of Key Safety Personnel

To ensure safety is given the attention it deserves, you should appoint key safety personnel. These individuals will be responsible for leading and managing the SMS.


Coordination of Emergency Response Planning

In an emergency, always have a plan in place. This plan should be coordinated by key safety personnel and include all employees.


SMS Documentation

The SMS should be documented to provide a clear overview of the system. This documentation should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.


Safety Assurance (SA)

Safety Assurance is the component of SMS that deals with monitoring risk controls during operation. After strategically planning control measures, safety officers will want to monitor their effectiveness and revise the safety plan as necessary. This process involves four components:


Safety Performance Monitoring and Measurement

Performance should be monitored to ensure that the safety plan is effective. This can be done through safety audits, safety observations, safety reports, and safety investigations.


The Management of Change

Any changes to the safety plan should be made with the help of safety professionals. This will ensure that the SMS is always up-to-date and effective.


Continuous Improvement of the SMS

SMS should always be evolving and improving. This can be done through safety audits, safety observations, safety reports, and safety investigations.


Safety Promotion

Safety promotion is the set of activities that support an organization’s overall implementation of an SMS. It involves training, knowledge-sharing, and communication. 

This process promotes safety as a core value within the organization and ensures everyone is aware of safety procedures. Safety Promotion has two main components:


Training and Education

Employees should undergo training on safety procedures. This training should be ongoing and cover all aspects of safety.


Safety Communication

There should be open communication about safety within the organization. This includes sharing safety information, safety concerns, and safety incidents.


Benefits of SMS

There are many benefits to implementing an SMS. Some of these benefits include:


Reduced accidents and injuries

By identifying and controlling hazards, you can reduce the number of accidents and injuries that occur in the workplace.


Improved safety Culture

An effective safety culture instills safety as a core value in the organization. This can lead to employee motivation and better engagement.


Reduced costs

By reducing accidents and injuries, you can also reduce the costs associated with safety. This includes property damage, medical expenses, and lost productivity.


Improved efficiency

An effective safety management system can help improve efficiency by reducing downtime and disruptions.


Improves employee management and safety compliance

Safety audits, observations, reports, investigations, and change management can help improve employee safety compliance.


Create Your SMS with DATAMYTE’s Digital Clipboard

At first, glance, developing a safety management system can be daunting, especially for decision-makers like senior supervisors, technical managers, and safety directors. However, ensure the highest degree of employee safety and maintain safe operations by creating your SMS workflow using the DataMyte Digital Clipboard.

The process is simple! All you need is to:

  1. Login to the DataMyte Digital Clipboard App.
  2. Click ‘Create Workflow’—Type New Workflow Name (in this case, you can simply name your workflow “SMS Workflow.”
  3. Now, you can add safety processes in the order that they should be completed. You can also assign safety responsibilities to specific team members.
  4. Save your workflow, and you’re ready to go!


Thanks to our intuitive drag-and-drop interface, creating an SMS won’t be complicated so you can focus more on the elements you add to your workflow. Now that you have an SMS in place, you can ensure the safety of your employees and your business operations. 

DataMyte is the perfect tool for safety managers who want to create an SMS. If you want to learn more about how the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help you create SMS, book a demo with us today!



It goes without saying that safety should be the top priority in any organization. Implementing an SMS can reduce accidents and injuries, improve safety, and save costs. Creating a safety management system is simple if you use dedicated workflow automation software. Get started today!



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