All organizations, regardless of size, must have a method of keeping track of the many details that run any company. These methods, collectively, can be called a system for getting things done on a regular, predictable and competent basis.
In safety, systems tie together the metrics of safety measurement—policy compliance scores, inspections, audits, training and knowledge audits and others—to performance appraisals, job descriptions and routine gap analysis. For example, if the job description says that the supervisor is responsible for training and the subsequent compliance to lock out / tag out, the metric would check the training records to see if 100 % of his employees are trained and ask for employee demonstrations of the lock out program. The results are then given back to the supervisor so that he can tell if he is successful in performing that aspect of his job.
These systems are generally similar from facility to facility, although the actual mechanics of how they are structured may differ. Everyone needs to keep track of maintenance issues, training, items needing attention, and specific program requirements. How we accomplish and link these is the function of a management system.
There are several widely accepted standards for creating management systems. OSHA’s VPP (Voluntary Protection Program), ANSI Z10 2012 (USA), and OHSAS 18001 (EU) are all standards relating to how management systems are structured and what they must contain. While there are some differences in how they are worded, they are remarkably similar. This speaks to the general consensus of what needs to be in the standards.
If you feel that you are not in control of your program, if you feel your data is good but you don’t know why, or if you feel you don’t have valid data measuring the appropriate metric, then a management system is your next step.