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Should you Review Your Safety Management System During This ‘Quiet’ January?

Should you Review Your Safety Management System During This ‘Quiet’ January?

Is January the ideal time to review your safety management system, especially concerning ISO or AS/NZS needs? We believe so, and we'd like to offer six steps and a 20% discount to help you exploit January, your calmest and potentially sanest time of the year. We want to help you enter the money months in the healthiest shape possible.

The last few years have been an almost perfect storm, and it's tempting to hope 2023 will be easier. But are there solid grounds for believing this? Perhaps - but we can’t be sure. We have doubts, so we recommend a Christmas chill-out followed by a January systems review. It just makes sense! 

Note: During December and January, a 20% DISCOUNT exists on online purchases of Safety Management Systems. Use Discount Code "XMAS22" at the checkout to take advantage of the offer.

In our October article, we introduced you to the ISO ch-ch-ch-changes (cue David Bowie), explained why AS/NZS standards are still in place, and we helped you identify whether or not the change applies to you. Last month, in November, we introduced some solutions and products. We addressed the harsh reality of those approaching ISO mack-truck headlights. Today, we'll continue the process in a way that might surprise you.

In yet another solutions-focused article, we will consider the following:

  • Why You Should Exploit January.
  • Step 1: Know what you want (or need).
  • Step 2: Assess Your Know-How.
  • Step 3: Decide if You Want a D-I-Y System.
  • Step 4: Avoid Slip-Ups.
  • Step 5: Ensure You're Purchasing the Correct System.

Why Exploit January?

Let's be honest and accurate - 2022 was a challenging year, and these continue to be difficult days. Though we desire better, there needs to be more evidence to suggest 2023 will be easy. This is why I view January as the eye of the storm - that quiet and disarming period before the other side of the storm makes its destructive presence known. If this January is a calm period you can take advantage of, then I'd like to help. 

If 2023 turns out to be a continuous calm, that'll be awesome! But I'm not going to bank on it.

Last year we witnessed:

  • The challenges of personnel, supply chain, cash flow and weather. 
  • The COVID period brought intolerable complications - and still threatens to return.
  • Elections stalled or cast unpredictability over opportunities and decisions.
  • You likely had to deliver on low-margin projects quoted during better times.
  • Across the business community, trust and certainty have suffered.

As a result, we continue to live and work in times of uncertainty and change. 

Here are six steps to review and enhance your safety management system.

Step 1: Know what safety system you want

Three guiding themes shape the ISO 45001 changes. The new management system is holistic (identifying the connections between parts) and process-based, and it more broadly distributes responsibilities and liabilities. As a result, the newer ISO safety system is better than the old one. That doesn't mean it's right for you, however, nor does it mean it's required of you.

We shared about certifying and transfer requirements last month. Sadly, there are still undecided issues, so please be aware that what follows is an overview based on what is known. If you'd like more detail, read the November article

Here are the headlines:

  1. You may not need to transfer to the newer safety management system.
  2. ISO 45001 is the new system. AS/NZS 4801 (or AS 4801) is the old (but still available).
  3. If you were AS 4801 certified and you want to remain certified, you must transition.
  4. If you weren't certified, you can keep using AS 4801… for a yet-to-be-specified time. 

Your decision to certify or not should factor in the tender requirements you typically have to meet, the nature of your projects, your marketplace competitiveness, and whatever other circumstances apply to you. 

Step 2: Assess Your Safety Management System Know-How

Are you able to answer these questions? You need to ask:

  1. Are your safety management templates compliant now?
  2. Will they still be compliant in July when the ISO45001 deadline is enacted? 
  3. Are you aware of the legislation, new codes and adjusted standards? 
  4. Do you know how these changes impact your existing templates?
  5. Do you understand where adjustments, upgrades, or new systems will be needed? 

If you feel overwhelmed by those questions, we encourage either:

  1. You take a look at the October and November articles,
  2. Compare the WHS Safety Management System to the newer OH&S system
  3. Give us a call on 1800 304 336, or
  4. Do all of the above (perhaps in that order).

Step 3: Decide if You Want a D-I-Y Safety System

We won't deny it. A few sizable businesses can build a safety management system using a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Most can't however, and even those who do often choose against it. Nevertheless, in the spirit of transparency, here's what you'll need if you go that route:

  1. A highly skilled Safety Officer with many spare hours.
  2. Subscriptions to Safe Work Australia, your state or territory regulator, Standards Australia, the National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) and the ISO website.
  3. Thorough knowledge of your existing documentation.
  4. The ability to decide what is needed. 
  5. Research and technical writing skills to create resources or make modifications.
  6. Quality assurance and quality control systems to beta test and refine as necessary.

The DIY approach is certainly possible during a quiet January. With the average Safety Officer earning around $400 a day, and the task requiring weeks or months (not days), whether that strategy is plausible and profitable is arguably a better question.

Step 4: Avoid These Safety Management System Slip-Ups

Here are some classic slip-ups to avoid. 

  • Remember that if an accident or incident occurs on your site, your due diligence failures are part of the liability assessments that follow. Ensure you are thorough and that your records and purchases show this diligence.
  • Resource and empower your Safety Officer to educate, train and proactively enforce whatever safety system you implement. 
  • If you choose to go DIY, make sure you're DIY'ing according to the correct system.

Also, if you are purchasing resources (rather than going DIY), remember that what seems cheapest or easiest often isn't necessarily so. There can be exceptions, of course, but what you save at the front end can result in hours spent fixing shortcomings or making needed adjustments and corrections. At best, this is annoying and expensive. At worst, there may be fatalities, injuries, shutdowns and fines.

Step 5: Ensure You're Purchasing the Correct System.

Remember that ISO 45001 is the NEWER safety management system, while AS 4801 is the older. 

  • ISO 45001 uses the lead header of OH&S. 
  • AS 4801 has the lead header of WHS.

If you're ever unsure, call 1800 304 336.

Remember that during December and January, you can access a 20% DISCOUNT on online purchases of Safety Management Systems. Enter the Discount Code "XMAS22" at the checkout to take advantage of the offer.

You can access complete safety systems, or inspect individual items, by following these links:

Step 6: Complete Your Templates With Care

Remember to:

  • Instantly download your resources upon purchase.
  • Follow our guides and trust the tips we provide.
  • Remember to follow the user-friendly design we have initiated for you.
  • Edit and complete the Microsoft Word formatted templates, adding your business specific information.

We Understand!

If you are a regular reader of our articles, you already know that we understand your pain! We appreciate that when sales drop, costs increase and problems mount up, the natural and understandable response is to lower expenses and prioritise stringently. 

But we also care enough to keep it real and speak the truth! 

Avoiding a review of your safety management system can be tempting, but like delaying decisions about ISO adjustments, that'll only be a temporary pleasure. Procrastinating is often an attractive option, but you know what they say about procrastination… 

I'll tell you later… 

Or maybe not.  :)

The bottom line is that we're a supplier that works closely with our customers, and we know that January is an excellent opportunity for most of our customers! This is why we're extending the December 20% discount through January. 

Yes, there are many challenges, safety management systems are complex, and a changing WHS and OH&S landscape can seem daunting. The challenges are manageable, however - and that is what we do! Call 1800 304 336 to ask a question, find the answer to a problem or ease a concern. We're just a phone call away - especially in January!

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