Frequently asked questions

General

  • A safety management system (SMS) is a comprehensive set of integrated processes and elements that specifies an organisation's arrangements for assuring and improving health and safety.

    It sets out methods to manage and coordinate activities and tasks in the organisation so that safety risk arising from the scope of operations is eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonable practicable.

    A contemporary SMS is one which is risk-based, evidence-based and user-centred.

  • We all have a legal and moral duty to manage work health and safety risks for Roads and Maritime Services and those affected by the work we do. This is best achieved through an effective SMS.

    We need the OneRMS SMS so we:

    • Achieve our safety objectives consistently and systematically across all of our operations
    • Meet legislative obligations
    • Create a positive safety culture where working safely becomes 'normal behaviour'.

    Having an effective SMS strengthens our ability to meet our duty of care to our workers, industry partners and others. It supports our focus is on managing risk and providing assurance on the effectiveness of our risk controls.

  • We have introduced an updated and improved safety management system (OneRMS SMS) which sets out principles and guidance on how we, in collaboration with our industry partners, effectively manage work health and safety (WHS) risks.

    The OneRMS SMS details our minimum standards for effectively managing WHS risks and sets out what is expected from divisions and industry partners to ensure consistency of safe work practices on all our worksites.

    The OneRMS SMS is based on better practice approaches to managing WHS risks and extends across the entire supply chain in the project lifecycle – from consigners to designers to builders, maintainers and disposers.

    Whether you are a division or an industry partner undertaking work for Roads and Maritime you must demonstrate how your safety management system meets or exceeds our requirements.

  • Currently our way of managing WHS is fragmented with different sets of documents and tools used by different divisions while some business units are developing new systems. We have improved our existing SMS to:

    • Align WHS management processes and practices across the agency under a consistent approach
    • Fill in gaps where they exist
    • Enhance current processes where opportunities exist.

    This is achieved by establishing an overarching framework for the agency that sets expectations and standards (referred to as the OneRMS SMS requirements) on how we, in collaboration with our industry partners, work across Roads and Maritime to reduce our WHS risks. These new requirements are described in the OneRMS SMS manual (PDF, 452Kb).

    The frameworks under the OneRMS SMS refer to the high-level processes used by Roads and Maritime to implement the associated system requirements.

  • We have undergone significant organisational changes over the last few years and as a consequence WHS management must take into account the altered risk context of our delivery-focused agency. This situation presents us with the opportunity to:

    • Improve WHS risk management by adopting contemporary best practice
    • Drive harmonisation with our industry partners to support future collaborative arrangements
    • Achieve additional production, economic and delivery benefits by thinking about health and safety at the planning, design and procurement stages of any project to improve the ability to eliminate hazards or effectively control risks.
    • At present, WHS systems vary across the agency. Rather than replacing their existing systems, divisions will align them with the OneRMS SMS requirements, filling in and closing gaps and making enhancements where necessary.
  • The Transport for NSW safety management system is based on their operational context, which is significantly different from ours. Each agency needs to specifically address their own operational context, risk profile and business needs.

  • The release of the website signifies the start of the 12 month transition period.

    This website allows you to familiarise yourself with our system and documents.

    The introduction of an improved safety management system represents change. We encourage open dialogue on how we can work together to achieve our common safety goals.

    Our divisions and industry partners under current contracts have until 31 March 2018 to meet or exceed the OneRMS SMS requirements and address any gaps.

    Roads and Maritime

    • All divisions will need to align with the OneRMS SMS requirements by 31 March 2018

    Industry partners

    • Industry partners responding to tenders for contracts under the WHS specifications G22 (PDF, 602Kb) and G24 (PDF, 177Kb) will need to meet the specific requirements contained in the tender documents
    • Industry partners under current contracts have until 31 March 2018 to assure Roads and Maritime that they meet or exceed our requirements
    • Industry partners currently registered: if your registration renewal takes place before 31 March 2018 please contact the Roads and Maritime registration group regarding necessary actions to meet our requirements by 31 March 2018
    • Industry partners currently seeking registration: The registration process will include the OneRMS SMS requirements at the completion of the transition period
    • Industry partners currently prequalified under the national scheme. There are no additional requirements to achieve prequalification, however at tender you may be required to demonstrate how you intend to meet or exceed the OneRMS SMS requirements.
  • The key documents under the OneRMS SMS are:

    • WHS policy statement (PDF, 1.7Mb) expresses our WHS vision and the principles by which we intend to manage WHS to improve safety performance
    • WHS strategy (PDF, 2.9Mb) demonstrates how the policy is implemented throughout the agency
    • Frameworks describe the structural elements of the system
    • Requirements set out what is expected to effectively facilitate compliance with legislation, industry standards and other business requirements
    • Guidance materials set out recommended best practice for meeting the requirements of the policy and frameworks
    • Procedures control WHS management processes, including by specifying the way to carry out a task or process and identifying the roles and responsibilities of individuals. Other procedures can be customised to meet divisional or local needs
    • Tools assist end-users to implement the higher-level documents.

    See OneRMS SMS manual (PDF, 452Kb) for more information

  • The documentation hierarchy allows the OneRMS SMS to be understood and applied across a variety of operational contexts without being overly prescriptive. Our divisions and industry partners may develop additional guidance material, procedures or tools for their local context. However, these must align to the commitments of the WHS policy statement (PDF, 1.7Mb) and support achievement of the standards for health and safety as set out in the OneRMS SMS frameworks and requirements.

    Certain procedures apply to all workplaces to ensure consistency. Other procedures can be customised to meet divisional or local needs.

  • Updated and new WHS procedures, templates, tools and guidance materials will be made available during 2016–2017. Throughout the review process current documents will remain available for use. For current WHS documents go to Procedures, tools and guidance. See also Drafts for consultation.

  • WHS Partners are supporting the business in undertaking a gap analysis with divisions and branches. Plans will be developed for how divisions can meet or exceed the OneRMS SMS requirements based on the findings.

    During the transition period and as part of continuous improvement the OneRMS SMS will continue to be developed. The intention is that contemporary knowledge and learnings from industry and research is integrated and enables us to manage our WHS risks as effectively as possible.

  • The OneRMS SMS content and structure are complete. See OneRMS SMS manual, frameworks and requirements.

    Guidance materials, procedures, tools and templates are available now. Many of these documents are currently under review and will be updated over the next year.

  • As part of the review and continuous improvement process, regular reviews of the system will identify opportunities for improving the effectiveness of the system, filling in gaps and making enhancements where opportunities exist.

Industry

  • The OneRMS safety management system (OneRMS SMS) describes our updated requirements – taking into account our specific risk context and key priorities. We aim to achieve compliance and beyond with WHS legislation, industry standards and other business requirements.

    The OneRMS SMS requirements applicable to industry partners are in Part 4B of the OneRMS SMS manual (PDF, 452Kb). The specific tender requirements will be developed based on the level of risk for the project.

  • We acknowledge you already have safety management systems in place that are designed to meet your risk exposure and operational requirements. However, we are now placing more emphasis on the specific areas of particular importance to us. We are seeking more assurance about the capability of our industry partners meeting or exceeding the OneRMS SMS requirements.

    • If you are an industry partner undertaking work for Roads and Maritime, you must demonstrate how your safety management system meets or exceeds the OneRMS SMS requirements.

      self-assessment tool (MS-Word, 218Kb - right click and choose "Save as") is available to assess your system against our requirements.

    • If you are pre-qualified to work for Roads and Maritime then it is likely that large parts of your system may already meet our requirements, because the OneRMS SMS requirements have been mapped to the FSC audit criteria guidelines and NSW WHS management systems auditing guidelines
    • If you are a subcontractor you will need to work towards the system that the principal contractor specifies (the principal contractor's system must meet or exceed the OneRMS SMS requirements). The level of safety risk management should be consistent and apply down the chain from principal contractor to subcontractor to sub-subcontractor.

    self-assessment tool (MS-Word, 218Kb - right click and choose "Save as") is available for all industry partners to assess their system against the OneRMS SMS requirements.

  • The OneRMS SMS website allows you to familiarise yourself with our system and documents.

    The introduction of an improved safety management system represents change. We encourage open dialogue to discuss how we can work together to achieve our common safety goals.

    Industry partners

    • Industry partners responding to tenders for contracts under the WHS specifications G22 (PDF, 602Kb) and G24 (PDF, 177Kb): will need to meet the specific requirements contained in the tender documents. This may require completing a self-assessment tool (MS-Word, 218Kb - right click and choose "Save as") in the tender response
    • Industry partners under current contracts: have until 31 March 2018 to assure Roads and Maritime that they meet or exceed our OneRMS SMS requirements
    • Industry partners currently registered: if your registration renewal takes place before 31 March 2018 please contact the Roads and Maritime registration group regarding necessary actions to meet our OneRMS SMS requirements by 31 March 2018
    • Industry partners currently seeking registration: the registration process will include the OneRMS SMS requirements at the completion of the transition period
    • Industry partners currently prequalified under the national scheme: there are no additional requirements to achieve prequalification, however at tender you may need to demonstrate how you intend to meet or exceed the OneRMS SMS requirements.
  • Industry partners responding to tenders for contracts under the G22 (PDF, 602Kb) and G24 (PDF, 177Kb) will need to meet the OneRMS SMS requirements contained in the tender documents.

    Tender respondents may submit a self-assessment tool (MS-Word, 218Kb - right click and choose "Save as") when requested in tender as evidence of their capability to meet or exceed the requirements for he OneRMS SMS. This will be reviewed to determine your capability to meet or exceed our requirements.

  • Due to 'point in time' provisions, new contracts tendered and issued following the release of the OneRMS SMS will need to meet the specific requirements in the tender response and contract. You will have until 31 March 2018 to assure Roads and Maritime that you meet or exceed our requirements.

  • Investment in safety should be a part of every organisation's commitment to meeting the minimum requirements contained in legislation, standards and codes of practice.

    Roads and Maritime has a moral and legal obligation to work with industry partners who best meet our safety requirements. You must be able to demonstrate how your safety management system meets or exceeds our requirements.

    You should consider carefully if any changes are required to meet or exceed OneRMS SMS requirements. A self-assessment tool (MS-Word, 218Kb - right click and choose "Save as") is available so that you can clearly understand these requirements. The transition period has been included so that our industry partners can review the applicable OneRMS SMS requirements and plan for any investment or changes that may be required to demonstrate their capability.

    If you cannot demonstrate how you meet the OneRMS SMS requirements it would be advisable to contact the Roads and Maritime WHS branch (see Contact us).

  • The intent is not to change current systems, but to allow you to demonstrate where you meet or exceed the OneRMS SMS requirements, filling in and closing gaps and making enhancements where necessary.

    Roads and Maritime registration and procurement, including G22 (PDF, 602Kb) and G24 (PDF, 177Kb) incorporate WHS risk management standards that industry partners need to achieve.

  • Roads and Maritime defines a critical risk control as:

    A control which has a significant impact on the likelihood of a hazardous event occurring. The absence or failure of a critical control significantly raises the risk posed by the hazardous event. A number of factors are considered to assess criticality, these include the control's effectiveness, the control type, the number of hazardous events the control relates to, and if the control is the only effective control for the hazardous event.

    Where risks cannot be eliminated, critical controls have been developed in consultation with industry and are included in the OneRMS SMS. Critical controls for the management of the risks are in project specifications.

    They do not capture every control that could or should be used in managing hazards and risks. However, the critical controls are considered to be essential elements for reducing the overall risk where it is not possible to eliminate the hazard or risk.

    Critical controls may change based on system and technological improvements and as an outcome from assurance activities. Roads and Maritime has ongoing programs to test the effectiveness of critical controls.

  • Yes. Industry partners undertaking work for Roads and Maritime must demonstrate how their safety management system meets or exceeds our requirements set out in Part 4B of the OneRMS SMS manual (PDF, 452Kb).

    As part of our commitment to working in collaboration with you to manage our shared WHS risks we are initially focussing on the key requirements under:

    • WHS risk management
    • Safety assurance
    • Occurrence management and investigations
    • Consultation, cooperation and coordination
    • Design safety – lifecycle management.

    Other standards and requirements may apply depending on the size of your organisation and commensurate with the risk associated with the work that you do with us. The additional requirements will be identified and communicated to you as part of tender documentation or as part of registration for certain types of work or contract values.

    The full list of OneRMS requirements are in Part 4A of the OneRMS SMS manual (PDF, 452Kb). You can use these to benchmark your system standards and requirements and develop plans to address any other areas.

  • The OneRMS SMS website allows you to familiarise yourself with our system and documents. The introduction of an improved safety management system represents change. You have until 31 March 2018 to implement the requirements and address any gaps. We encourage open dialogue to discuss how we can work together to achieve our common safety goals.

  • Where an industry partner cannot meet or exceed that standard they should identify the controls they do have in place (or innovation) that provide the same or better risk management. Where the industry partner cannot meet the standard this will become a risk that the Roads and Maritime contract team will need to identify and review as part of tender assessment. If the WHS capability of a preferred tenderer is below benchmark it may be possible in contract negotiations to review how best to address the risk.

  • Duty holders who have common risks are required under the WHS legislation to consult, cooperate and coordinate, and this includes the determination of which system is most applicable.

    Where a principal contractor is appointed they will have overall control of the activities on site under their WHS management system. Each person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) should have a system capable of managing their risks. Where a principal contractor is appointed, their system will describe how the site WHS standards will be implemented.

    Consultation will help determine what each PCBU needs to do to cooperate and coordinate activities with each other to comply with their duty.

    For contracts issued with the G22 (PDF, 602Kb) and G24 (PDF, 177Kb) the principal contractor's system will have demonstrated how they meet or exceed the OneRMS SMS requirements identified in tender documents.

    The Guide to interpretation of Principal Contractor and Roads and Maritime Services obligations under the WHS Act 2011 (PDF, 123Kb) provides guidance on the interaction between safety systems on Principal Contractor sites.

  • No, it means we are serious about safety and we think we can do better when we work collaboratively. It is essential to understand our risks and our risk controls. If the risk is on a limited scale with a low risk, the effort will be minimal.

    However, if you are working on a major project with high risks, we want to be assured that the planning and understanding around those risks and risk controls meets our standards and duty of care as a PCBU. We need assurance that your risk management measures are fit for purpose for our operational environment and risk context.

    The integration of the OneRMS SMS requirements into existing processes has been developed to minimise any additional documentation or communication required by industry partners, subcontractors and organisations seeking registration, or responding to tenders.

  • On our worksites there will be a clear, consistent expectation for safe working requirements, focussing on managing risks. In areas where previous performance has been inconsistent we expect that implementing the requirements in collaboration with you, will achieve a consistent higher level of safety.

    Our workforce will be less exposed to risks as we have put an emphasis on planning for safety commencing in design, where elimination and a high level of risk controls can be implemented most effectively. As a consequence workers will not be exposed to certain risks or their exposure will be significantly reduced.

  • Please send us an email at onermssms@rms.nsw.gov.au and we will contact you.
  • The Guide to interpretation of Principal Contractor and Roads and Maritime Services obligations under the WHS Act 2011 (PDF, 123Kb) provides guidance on the interaction between safety systems on Principal Contractor sites.

WHS risk management

  • The last version of the procedure was published in 2012. Since then, the operational context and organisational priorities have changed, including the engagement of industry partners and stakeholders in the community.

    The OneRMS SMS WHS risk management framework and procedure reflect contemporary best practice, incorporate assurance for duty holders, align with WHS legislation and reflect our diverse operations within the Transport cluster.

  • The principles and approach to risk management have not changed. The new WHS risk management procedure:

    Focuses on:

    • Eliminating risk before considering minimising risk so far as is reasonably practicable
    • Risk-based decision-making and justification
    • Improving the effectiveness of current controls before adding new controls
    • Seeking more effective control types (elimination, substitution, isolation, engineering) where required.

    Aligns with the:

    Has a new risk escalation process, aligned to the enterprise risk management framework and procedure

    Describes which risk management tools, for example risk registers, risk assessments and safe work method statements (SWMS), should be used in different risk management applications such as assets and projects, high risk construction work and plant

    Introduces definitions and methodology for identifying critical controls

  • Yes. The procedure must be integrated into all business processes by March 2018 as part of the OneRMS SMS transition.

  • Assurance and verification activities, including self-assessments, are a key part of OneRMS SMS transition.

  • The WHS risk management process applies to all Roads and Maritime operations that present a risk to health and safety. These include infrastructure-related work (building and maintaining roads, bridges and traffic infrastructure) and non-infrastructure related work (eg enforcement and regulatory operations).

    A new section in the procedure assists with the application of the risk management tools in specific circumstances.

  • We are aligning with the existing Roads and Maritime enterprise risk management framework, not introducing a new matrix.

    Businesses should already be applying the enterprise risk matrix, which was released in 2014.

  • Any assessments that have not applied the enterprise risk matrix will need to be reviewed. A plan for review of existing risk documentation, applying a risk matrix, should be developed as part of the transition to the OneRMS.

    For example, business areas have safe work method statements (SWMS) for specific operations and these may need to be reviewed every two years. The OneRMS SMS transition action plans will identify the risk documentation, including SWMS, which need to be updated using the new risk matrix during the next review. SWMS due for review before March 2018 will be updated by then, while others will continue to be updated to the new matrix in line with their review schedule.

  • Yes. Industry partners will need to demonstrate their procedures align with the OneRMS SMS during the tender and contracting phases.

  • The OneRMS SMS WHS risk management framework and procedure outline the requirements for Roads and Maritime. Therefore, the framework and procedure are not mandatory for Tier 3 partners. However, these partners are still required to meet or exceed the agreed SMS requirements for risk management. All industry partners undertaking work for Roads and Maritime must demonstrate how they meet or exceed the agreed SMS requirements.

  • A risk owner is the person with accountability and authority for managing a risk. This means a risk owner is a person who has been given the authority to manage a particular risk and is accountable for doing so. This is also the person who assigns accountability for a control (to the control owner). By default, the risk owner is the person in charge of the work activity that entails the risk.

    The risk owner is responsible for:

    • Ensuring the risks they own are managed in accordance with the WHS risk management procedure through regular discussion and/or assurance from the control owner. Management of individual risk management treatments may be delegated to another person, but the risk owner retains ultimate responsibility
    • Monitoring progress against risk management treatments
    • Ensuring the risk review process is carried out in a timely fashion, within their areas of responsibility
    • Keeping risk registers current and responding to any risk register actions assigned to them
    • Completing relevant risk reporting
    • Ensuring control owners are assigned
  • While certain risk management functions may be delegated to another person, the risk owner retains ultimate responsibility and accountability. The role of risk owner is associated with a position, not a person. This means if a risk owner is on leave and they have delegated a person to act in their role, the person acting holds the risk owner’s responsibilities until their return.

  • For guidance, please visit Safe Work Australia’s How to determine what is reasonably practicable to meet a health and safety duty.

    Deciding what is 'reasonably practicable' under a given circumstance to protect people from harm requires taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters, including:

    • The likelihood of the hazard or risk concerned occurring
    • The degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk
    • What the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk and ways of eliminating or minimising the risk
    • The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk
    • The cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.
  • A risk register is the standard process for documenting safety risks in operations, projects and programs, as well as in organisational changes and changes to infrastructure and assets.

    Risk registers collate risk management information – such as hazards, their associated risks, risk ratings, the accepted risk controls, risk owners, and control owners. They are the basis for recording and monitoring the status of risks and the implementation of their controls.

    Risk registers are established at every level of the organisation, including at the agency, division, business unit or project level. If there is no risk register, the manager may adopt the higher-level risk register (e.g. divisional safety risk register) or derive a new risk register from it; adapt a risk register from another project or business unit with a similar risk profile; or develop a risk register from scratch using the WHS Risk register template.

    Business units can use existing risk registers such as a project risk register, providing it captures health and safety risks and the 6 x 6 matrix from the WHS risk management procedure (Table 4) is applied for the risk ratings.

  • The risk register owner is a person responsible for the content of the risk register. It must be a person who can fulfil the responsibilities of the risk register owner, to:

    Manage the risk register, ensuring:

    • It is reviewed and updated
    • It is current within the context of the business operations
    • The documented control suite reflects current practice.

    Ensure the continuity of risk registration through lifecycle phases.

    Ensure that WHS risk management records are maintained for legal compliance. The risk register owner may appoint a document controller for the purpose of document management and version control.

  • The executive directors have ownership of their respective Divisional Safety Risk Register (DSRR). An individual on the divisional leadership team may be appointed to oversee the day-to-day management of the risk register.

    The division’s executive director assigns responsibility to line managers for risk registers at the business unit level and for specific programs, projects and changes under their control.

    In all cases, the responsible manager must ensure that:

    • Risks are managed (eliminated or minimised) so far as is reasonably practicable
    • Ownership is allocated to existing risk controls
    • Responsibility is allocated to actions associated with additional risk controls.

    A risk register must be established:

    • When there is a new business unit, program, project or asset
    • By the manager responsible for the business unit, program or project or asset.
  • During the risk management process, risks are assigned a risk rating (very high, high, medium or low). Based on the rating, risks must be notified to the nominated level of management to ensure action is taken and approval is obtained from the appropriate authority to proceed with the activity (start, continue or stop). The risk escalation and action table in the procedure (Table 6) provides instruction on this process.

  • Escalation of risks alerts the appropriate level of management about a new or emerging risk, the need to plan for future risk controls and the need for resources to manage the risk.

  • Risks must be escalated when they are new or emerging risks. Established risks that are already documented on a risk register do not need to be escalated unless the risk rating changes or other circumstances change.

    When risks – and their associated controls and risk ratings – are captured in a risk register, the approver of the risk register (i.e. risk owner), by approving, has accepted the risks and has accountability for them.

    If a risk associated with a work activity is already captured in an approved safety risk register and its stated risk controls are being applied by the workers, the risk need not be escalated. However, when a work activity diverts from the accepted risk the activity may then have a higher risk rating and that risk must be escalated.

    For example:

    • If a risk assessment identifies a ‘high’ risk and the risk is also rated ‘high’ in the applicable risk register, the risk need not be escalated provided the controls listed in the risk register are in place and being applied by the workers.
    • If a risk assessment identifies a ‘high’ risk while the risk is rated ‘medium’ in the risk register, the risk must be escalated to a senior manager. In such a case, the higher rating may be due to the work environment or how the work is carried out. Accordingly, priority action must be taken to eliminate the risk or minimise it further if elimination is not reasonably practicable.
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