Planning and implementing safety management systems
This thesis describes a study of the content and applicability of BS8800:1996 Guide to occupational health and safety management systems. The research is presented chronologically, with literature review and content analysis of SMS related guides and standards interwoven with two elements of qualitative empirical work. The first of these was carried out shortly after publication of BS8800 in 1996, a 'before-the-event' investigation of how organisations were intending to approach SMS implementation. The challenges faced by these organisations are reviewed against standard management theory, suggesting that the initial motivation for SMS implementation governs the approach organisations will adopt to guidance such as BS8800. The second phase of empirical work was undertaken in the context of OHSAS 18001, an auditable protocol based on BS8800, which allows organisations to certify their safety management systems. A discussion of the evolution of certifiable safety management system is presented, highlighting the similarities and differences between this, BS8800, SMS and wider management system standards. A case study then reviews the experiences of a catering company that implemented 18001, motivated by the opportunity for certification as a business benefit. The empirical work is used to comment on the guidance provided by BS8800, within its evolved role as guidance organisations may use for implementation of a SMS to be certified according to the specifications of OHSAS 18001. It is suggested that optimal implementation is facilitated by initial status review, continual improvement and the use of annexes, where there are used to make changes to the existing safety management system. This thesis concludes with a discussion of these elements, highlighting pertinent areas within BS8800 where revision or amendment may be appropriate.