The systems perspective is one that doesn’t come up very often in work health and safety discussions. With my background in Information Systems Management I can’t help but see Work Health and Safety from the systems perspective. A Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) is defined in AS 4801:2001 which remains the current Australian Standard at present. This will soon be replaced with a newer International standard ISO 45001. However, the basic requirements of a WHSMS will remain the same.
What does this mean? This means that compliant WHS management requires a system that consists of people, technology, business processes, and data. A system that interacts with its environment. A WHSMS is governed by the laws that are in place in the jurisdiction in which the organisation operates. An active WHSMS also impacts on the environment through the processes and procedures that are adopted.
When I use the terms “technology” and “data” I don’t necessarily mean computers and databases, more often than not small businesses are still using paper based files and documents. SAFTDOX is designed to allow you to keep using your paper-based docuemtns but to also learn to store them as controlled electronic documents so that you can keep an easily accessible record of your WHS activities. This is a fundamental requirement of good systems managment.
Remember that a system is not static and should never be dormant.
It is in a continual state of change as it responds to external and internal forces and changes. This is why AS4801:2001, image at left, recommends a continuous improvement approach to ensure a functional WHSMS.