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Aligning Goals & Objective to Your SMS Policy Statement

Posted by
Daniel Slattery
on Feb 23, 2016

SMART.jpgFor organizations who are doing a fresh (e.g. brand new) implementation of a safety management system (SMS), one of the more difficult parts is getting started.  For some firms setting goals and objectives is a regular part of business, but if you need a primer start with our “How to Set Effective Safety Goals for Your Company.”

One of the most important parts of establishing goals and objectives is linking them to your policy statement.  The safety policy statement says, in essence, what your organization is going to do, and what’s important to the organization.  The goals and objectives should be written/developed to support the safety policy statement.

One thing to remember when establishing goals and objectives for your SMS is to remember that each is fundamentally different.  Goals are targets for performance indicators; they identify a numerical (preferably) or other value that the organization deems mission-critical to health and safety.  Objectives are plans or activities that are established by the organization to ensure the implementation of processes, procedures, or programs to conform to, support, or improve the SMS.

Below, we’re going to look at some excerpts from different policy statements, and walk through the process of establishing goals and objectives from those different examples.  As a disclaimer, we’re not advocating any of these particular goals or objectives, they are meant to reinforce a concept.

The first example is was chosen from a policy statement that wasn’t so clear:

  • “Safety and health in our company must be a part of every operation.”
    • Potential Goals:
      • % Current PPE Cert. of Hazard Assessments – benchmarked or absolute # of hazard assessments that are current / # of total hazard assessments
      • % Evaluations of Compliance – benchmarked or absolute # of evaluations of compliance that are current / # of total evaluations of compliance
    • Potential Objectives
      • Have (person/role) conduct PPE Cert. of Hazard Assessment for all organizational job role / titles by XX/XX/XXXX (date).
      • Have (person/role) conduct Evaluations of Compliance for all elements on the Register of Regulations by XX/XX/XXXX (date).
      • As stated, this is just an example, but it highlights two very important concepts:
      • The policy statement and goals are inextricably linked. Where one goes, the other should follow.  These considerations should be made during management reviews when the organization is thinking about changing policy.
      • Linking goals and objectives requires clarity in your organization’s policy. It doesn’t allow for “fuzzy” or unclear commitments.  It requires that the organization identify and articulate clear and concise goals and objectives.
      • Our second example comes from a policy written to support a safety management system standard and is a bit clearer:
      • “COMPANY utilizes a SMS to reduce the risk of injury to personnel”
        • Potential Goals
          • % of total risk reduction annually
          • % of risk reduction associated with XX process
        • Potential Objectives
          • Have (person/role) update / reassess risks for XX process by XX/XX/XXXX (date).
          • Have (person/role) implement XX task/activity to reduce risk in xx process by XX/XX/XXXX (date).
          • Process owner reduces risk in XX process by XX% by XX/XX/XXXX (date)
          • Two more takeaways from this set of goals/objectives:
          • These goals / objective are specific (first part of SMART); and
          • There is an accountability structure – they are assigned to someone to complete by a specific date.
          • To wrap up, most good auditors will ensure that your goals and objectives are aligned with the SMS policy statement.  Ensuring that your policy statement and goals and objectives are properly aligned will help your organization gain the maximum amount of traction and build the momentum necessary to provide for continuous improvement.
          • Download our free guide to safety outsourcing 

Tags: SMS

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