Let's assume we are starting from the ground floor. Where do we begin? 

For sure, there are safety management systems that I need to implement as part of my overall operation. Some of these need to support contractor pre-qual tools. Others aim towards some form of certification that provides some degree of third party assurance on the quality of my operation. There does seem to be a lot of expertise and resources available for the starting organization. Interestingly, I can also take a shortcut through the download of pre-built safety manuals and give them a stamp of approval to check that requirement off my list.

Next, one of the critical components of my safety management system will be training. Ensuring my employees have the qualifications and skills to not only do their job, but to apply safe operating procedures during their work. It is important that they can properly identify and control hazards. In the event of an incident, I need them to respond promptly and to record the details of the incident so we can learn and improve. Some of the feedback I've heard suggests that some employers prefer to take a shortcut and avoid investing in the safety training because it takes too much time. 

In fact, I'm sure I could go through every element of a safety management system and find a corresponding shortcut for those inclined to take one. 

I guess in the end, it isn't the management system that does the work. It's the people. People begin any activity with their attitude. So, we must therefore start by promoting a positive attitude towards safety that is supported by the values of the organization. I know it sounds trite. But, it is attitude that injects energy into management systems, attitude that rejects shortcuts and attitude that steps up to make the right decision when there is a policy gap.

Again, where do we begin? We ensure safety is reflected in our core values and begin with a positive attitude.