Safety Management Systems (SMS)

About Safety Management Systems

The safety of transport activities relating to a heavy vehicle is the shared responsibility of each party in the Chain of Responsibility. Each party in the chain must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that transport activities relating to the vehicle are conducted safely.

The executive officer of a business conducting transport activities has additional and specific responsibilities to take reasonable steps to ensure transport activities are conducted safely, eliminating or minimising hazards and risks.

Regardless of the size of your business, having an effective Safety Management System (SMS) can be one of the best ways of ensuring you have a safety-focused business and are complying with your safety duty obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

This section of our website provides the core guidance material and templates to help you implement an SMS in your business. We’ve developed these products in consultation with representatives from the heavy vehicle industry through the Safety Industry Operator Group.

Our SMS Fact Sheet (PDF, 269KB) provides a short overview of an SMS. For a more detailed explanation read the booklet Introduction to Safety Management Systems in the Heavy Vehicle Industry (PDF, 3.4MB). Also refer to the FAQs (frequently asked questions) page for answers to common questions.

When implementing your SMS it is suggested that you use a phased approach, rather than try to put all the components and elements in place at once. For guidance refer to the Continuous Improvement - Quick Guide (PDF, 62KB).

The NHVR may develop more SMS guidance material over time, so make sure you Subscribe to On the Road and watch through social media (Facebook and Twitter) to be informed when they become available.

Safety assurance

Safety assurance is the process of monitoring and checking how your SMS is performing. It’s about looking at the things you’ve put in place and the things you’re doing on a daily basis to manage safety to see what’s working well and what isn’t.