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Health and Safety Management Systems in Schools and Colleges

What is a Safety Management System?

A Safety Management System (SMS) is the overarching name given to the development, operation and review of the health and safety policies, procedures and arrangements which collectively control the health and safety risks within schools and colleges.

HSE's HSG65 Safety Management System flowchart

Like most management systems used by businesses, the majority of SMS are based on the Plan, Do, Act, Check model. In the UK most of the Safety Management Systems have been developed from either the Health and Safety Executive's "Successful Health and Safety Management" (HSG65) Model or the International Standards Organisations' ISO 45001 or a combination of the two.

The two models are now very similar in terms of content. The main difference between the models is that as organisations can be assessed against ISO 45001:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems (and if successful be awarded the standard) it is much more detailed in terms of requirements.

From a school or college perspective a safety management system based on either standard, if implemented fully, will ensure that the organisation has robust systems to manage the health and safety risks created by their work activities. A key part of the planning phase of a SMS is risk profiling. Risk profiling means identifying the hazards which the school or college's activities create and understanding the risk these pose to its employees, students and others affected by how it operates. It is therefore important for the employer in the school or college to have access to a competent person to provide advice on establishing and operating the establishment's safety management systems.