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Safety Management Systems
 
Introduction
 

The hell of the “Piper Alpha” Oil North Sea oil rig fire and the devastating “Marchioness” ferry mown down in London’s Thames River, its birthday party guests washed into the rescuing crafts’ propellers, were wake up calls that accidents waiting to happen keep happening. In 2002 the IMO published the International Safety Management Code (ISM) to address this problem.
The pro-active coordination required is called a Safety Management System and a designated person or persons are made responsible for the maintenance of its documentation, the SMS Manual. The SMS manual includes:

Information necessary for a safe workplace,
Risk analysed plans for operational,
Contingency plans for emergencies,

It should be available at work stations and be audited and updated in a systematic way.
Safety plans buried in filing cabinets are not a Safety Management System, nor will they save the company from liability/expense for incidents that effective monitoring would have prevented. Whatever the type of vessel or the nature of its trade, a continuing evaluation must occur that ensures both safe operations and SMS compliance, by:

Identification of all potential hazards.
Assessment of the risk posed by each hazard.
Elimination or development of a control plan.
Re-evaluation of the records in order that the plan may be improved.

Control plans for minor risk operations may be arrived at informally (intuitively). However, if such plans fail, or if operations or risks are re-evaluated as changed, a more formal analysis will be required.

 

     

View a sample SMS Manual  

         
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