Introduction to Safety Management Systems


Why do you need a Safety Management System (SMS)?

There are many reasons commonly put forward in support of an effective SMS, including:

• Takes the worry out of the legal compliance side of safety management;
• Reduced interruptions to business by ad-hoc reactive attempts at safety management;
• Demonstrates due diligence on the behalf of the organisation; and,
• Reduced costs due to injury treatment, lost time injuries and insurance premiums.

Of course, as well as those practical advantages, there’s the moral consideration – an effective SMS driven by motivated management addresses the foreseeable WHS risks in your workplace before they cause injury.

In order to reduce injuries in the glass and glazing industries, AGWA will require members to have an approved SMS in place by 2018. If your organisation already has an externally certified SMS, or you have a management system in place which satisfies AGWA’s Self-assessment Audit, there is no need to use AGWA’s model.

What makes a good SMS?

Continual improvement in performance is the objective of an SMS, and that only occurs if the system is designed and maintained as an effective set of inter-related, interacting processes.

Systems follow the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” model.

PLAN what you’re aiming to do and how you’re going to achieve it.

DO – Implement your plans.

CHECK – Monitor performance to make sure your plans are working.

ACT – Act to fix or improve elements of the plan.

…and the cycle continues…

A hallmark of an effective system is regular, robust review by management, as this is where deficiencies and possible improvements in the system are identified.

Structure of the SMS
The AGWA SMS is set out in 5 sections. The sections can be worked through individually, downloading and tailoring the template documents. Components of the AGWA SMS may be used individually to fill gaps in your own organisation’s safety processes, or you may use the AGWA SMS in its entirety.

It is recommended that you start at Section 1 and work through the sections in order, adapting the documentation so that it suits your specific operation.

As well as the system itself, there is also a range of associated resources designed to support members manage their WHS profiles.

Terminology / Glossary

PCBU – A 'person conducting a business or undertaking' (PCBU) is a legal term under WHS laws for individuals, businesses or organisations that are conducting business. In some jurisdictions, the terms ‘Manager’ or ‘Owner’ are used in legislation, but in the majority of Australian jurisdictions, ‘PCBU’ is the term applied.

Work Health & Safety (WHS) / Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) - Throughout this SMS, the terminology ‘WHS’ is used. As a national organisation, AGWA has made the decision to use this terminology in line with the federal WHS legislation, as this is what is in place in the majority of jurisdictions.


For further information on the Safety Management System please call AGWA 03 8669 0170