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How to Select the Best Safety Management System

Nov 05, 2020

Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals often ask, “Which safety management system standard should I use?” In many cases, it's a choice between ANSI/ASSP Z10 or ANSI/ASSP/ISO 45001.

ASSP is secretariat of the Z10 Committee, which writes the current Z10 occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) standard and two implementation guides. We are also administrator of the technical advisory group (TAG) to ANSI for the ISO TC-283 Committee, the global group responsible for the ISO 45001 OHSMS standard. These roles reflect our position as a global champion of these systems and our advocacy for the importance of effective safety management overall. 

Discussions around the two leading consensus standards have generated greater interest in both. However, those deliberations often don’t focus on how to select the best system for your circumstances. The following resources can guide your deliberations.

Comparative Analysis

The September 2020 issue of Professional Safety included A. Michael Shekari’s article, “Safety Management Systems Standards and Guidelines: A Comparative Analysis.” The article highlights areas where the various safety management system standards differ and identifies best practices for their use and implementation.

In a follow-up interview, Shekari shared additional insight on his research. He also explained how the scope and structure of the standards/guidelines enable them to be scaled based on organization size and needs and discussed a range of factors that you should consider in the selection process.

Watch the interview

ASSP also has created a chart that compares key elements of ANSI/ASSP Z10 and ISO 45001:
Comparing ANSI/ASSP Z10 and ISO 45001

Download PDF

Guidance Manual

In addition, the ASSP GM-Z10.100-2019 Guidance and Implementation Manual for ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems includes a detailed chart that compares the different standards and guidance documents.

Read Chapter 20

Podcasts and Online Articles

Given the growing focus on safety management system standards and ASSP’s involvement in developing Z10 and ISO 45001, we've recorded several podcasts that provide additional insight to help you decide which standard best meets your needs.

These articles explore the selection, implementation and assessment of safety management systems.

Proving the Positive Impact of OHSMS

As part of the effort to gain management buy-in for implementing an OHSMS, safety professionals are constantly scanning for examples that prove a positive impact. ASSP has compiled a selection of research papers, white papers, data and examples that address this issue.

View compilation

Additional Resources

These articles and studies address management systems overall, with some specific to safety management systems and return on investment. This information can help you convince corporate leaders to support efforts to implement a system and manage safety the same way the organization manages other business elements.

Ultimately, your organization's make-up, operations, culture and business needs will determine which safety management system works best for you.

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