BY COURTNEY PHILLIPS

Why wouldn’t your company implement a Safety Management System (SMS) now?

Why risk your employees, the public, your operation, your reputation, your profitability, and more waiting for an accident to happen?

Is it possible that companies see no added value in establishing and employing a SMS? If so, is it because these companies have only experienced “close calls” and not a disaster that has triggered actions? If an incident were to occur that resulted in long term pipeline shutdown, permanent reputation damage, bankruptcy, or even fatalities – would that cause a company to start implementing a SMS? If the answer is yes, then why wait to experience such a tragic incident; just study history, instead.

For some companies, history is motivation enough to make changes in the way business is conducted so as to not repeat past mistakes and to learn what can be done to avoid them. This often involves studying a past catastrophic event that has had significant health, environmental, and economic consequences, such as:

  • – The Piper Alpha Disaster
  • – The Bhopal Disaster
  • – The BP Texas City Refinery Explosion
  • – The San Bruno Pipeline Explosion
  • – The Columbia Gas Pipeline Explosion

A common lesson learned from the above history is the need to implement a SMS and establish a safety-focused culture. However, if this repeated learning from numerous past disasters is not enough to prompt the immediate development and implementation of a company SMS, why not consider the potential benefits gained from a SMS?

Companies in multiple industries and geographies who have implemented SMSs have experienced multiple benefits in areas such as safety, business optimization, and financial performance. Some of those benefits include:

  • – Better teamwork and safety culture
  • – Better health and safety workplace
  • – Reduced lost time due to workplace accidents
  • – Less probability of accidents
  • – Better interaction with regulators
  • – Better reputation
  • – Better production stability
  • – Improved revenue stream
  • – Better long-term decision making
  • – Reduced cost of damaged equipment
  • – Lower insurance premiums
  • – Reduced number of fines

If history is not enough, and your company is still on the fence about implementing a SMS, a good stepping stone, I would propose you take, is a brainstorming session to identify the potential benefits your company can experience and define the roadmap to an effective implementation. The discoveries made during the brainstorming session may be what motivates your company to make the change in the way business is conducted. Waiting to implement a SMS may be costing you more than you think.

If you want to ask an expert a question about your Safety Management System today, please contact us.