SMS Adoption/Crossing Chasm

“Crossing the Safety Chasm”
From continuous compliance to continuous improvement

Where is your focus?

A regulatory focus is limiting. Compliance today does not guarantee compliance tomorrow. Lower rates and costs this year does not guarantee year-over-year sustainable reduction. Without a Safety Management System, you will always be at risk of future non-compliance and increased rates and costs.

There are excellent safety management systems available to pick from (VPP, ANSI, BS8800, BSI’s OHSAS 18001 to name a few). The important thing is to leverage from existing systems. Integrate your S&H processes into your existing core business process. Don’t just add a stand-alone system.
Focusing on “Rates and Regs” only works to a point because

A comprehensive management system provides the central focus that will drive your continuous improvement.

Ready to switch from Compliance Program focus to Management Systems?

What is the difference between a Safety Management System (SMS) and a Safety Program? An SMS is a set of key management processes with clusters of best practices that improve performance outcomes.

Safety Programs:
Safety Management Systems:
SMS Reference Models & Management Frameworks:

ISO 9000 and 14001 standards are considered strong auditable standards. However, strictly speaking, they are not an SMS, even though many organizations are using them as templates for SMS adoption.


OSHA established the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) in 1983 in order to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. The VPP model has 4 elements (top-level management processes) and 36 sub-elements (best practices):

ANSI Z10, published in 2005, consists of 7 elements and 32 sub-elements. A side by side comparison of VPP and ANSI Z10 shows they are quite similar. What’s the major difference between them? ANSI contains risk based sub-elements where VPP relies on hazard analysis. A major advantage of VPP is the 3rd party review and certification (OSHA).

Some professionals have argued that VPP is not an SMS because it lacks clear guidelines that require compliance with OSHA regulations and does not specifically require and spell out feedback loops to drive continuous improvement. The counter position points out that the OSHA Act requires compliance and OSHA did not have to restate it. Likewise there are many natural feedback loops in the VPP model that during certification OSHA requires being present.

For more information on the VPP you can contact CoreAdvantage or visit the OSHA website

To see what OSHA is saying about S&H Management Systems see OSHA’s eCat on S&H Management. CoreAdvantage’s Dr. Ryan was the technical lead that developed OSHA’s eCat tool.

Ready to create exciting results?