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How To Write A Safety Management System (SMS)

Implementing an SMS may initially appear to be a daunting task, however, it is likely that some of the key elements that make up an SMS are already in place, but perhaps not formalised or clearly documented. The structure and content of an SMS should be essentially the same for any organisation but the level of detail should reflect the size, complexity and level of risk faced by your organisation.

It is important to develop an SMS that works for your organisation and is effective. Firstly complete a risk assessment. By doing this you will be able to identify your risks and how to mitigate them. This will be most helpful when developing operation procedures. The 12 elements below should be used as the basis for developing a safety management system that is relevant to the operation of your vessel. This should be adapted as necessary depending on the vessel’s class of survey. This approach requires operators to identify key aspects that require documentation. The information listed below each element should be considered when developing your SMS.

This can been found in the Ocean Time Marine  Safety Management System guidance notes.

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General – Company vessel and operation details Safety and environment policies – How you work safely and what legislation you must comply with Owner responsibilities – (An organisational chart is a useful addition to this section.) Designated person – Person(s) link between the vessel, her crew and shore based management

The Master – The Master’s responsibilities including: Authority over vessel, passengers and crew in matters of safety Resources and personnel – Include the number of personnel in your company, their qualifications, and how they are trained and assessed

Operational procedures – This section should be tailored to reflect what you do on your vessel and how you do what you do on a daily basis. (This section can be very useful as a training aid.)

Emergency procedures – What you do in an emergency both ashore and on-board Reporting & analysis of non-conformities, accidents & hazards – How incidents/accidents/hazards are: reported/identified, analysed/corrected and communicated and documented Maintenance – The companies schedule and recording of maintenance

Documentation – Where documents are kept and how they are recorded. SMS review – How the document is maintained, assessed and reviewed.

How does Ocean Time Marine help?

The Ocean Time Marine SMS template is the best SMS template and guidance available, giving you access to the most cost effective, simple, safe solution written by mariners for mariners. Each section colour coded and simple to read and use. There are more than 40 different procedures that you may want to insert in your SMS as well as many other helpful documents.

The Ocean Time Marine template allows you to concentrate on running your business and less time spent on compliance. You receive a monthly newsletter and updated changes to any legislative requirements that you may incur from your government authority. The template is written in an acceptable format for Maritime Safety regulators such as the UK MCA, the US Coast Guard and the Australian AMSA.

What is included in the safety management system (SMS)?

Every safety management policy should satisfy some of the basic functional requirements to ensure safety of every ship. They are:

  • A risk assessment
  • Vessel, company and operational details (section 1)
  • Safety and environmental protection policy (section 2)
  • Clear information on level of authority and lines of communication among ship crew members, and between shore and shipboard personnel (section 3)
  • Procedures and guidelines to ensure safe operations of the vessel and protection of marine environment in compliance with relevant international and flag state legislations (section 7)
  • Procedure and guidelines to act in an emergency situation (section 8)
  • Procedure and guidelines for reporting accidents or any other form of non-conformities (section 9)
  • Procedures for internal audits and management reviews (section 12)

In short, a safety management system would consists of details as to how a vessel would operate on a day to day basis, what are the procedures to be followed in case of an emergency, how are drills and trainings conducted, measures taken for safe operations, who is the designated person etc. A safety management system is the responsibility of the owner of the vessel, or the designated person, or the person appointed by the owner. However, the ship’s master and the crew are the best people to make an SMS as they know the vessel inside-out.

Ocean Time Marine can assist you with all your SMS requirements. Find out more today

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