Safety Management Plans

Can Chat GPT write my safety plan?

Chat GPT is a powerful tool, but can it write my Safety Plan? We explore some of the risks and uses.

ChatGPT is certainly a hot topic of conversation at the moment. While debate rages over the benefits and the dangers, the fact remains that it is a powerful tool which has the potential to save small businesses countless hours and allow them to get on top of all of those administrative projects that sit in the ‘gonna get to’ basket, so can it do my health and safety?

I’ve experimented with ChatGPT and asked it to write a safety management plan for a number of different types of tourism operations. The results were underwhelming at best. I certainly wouldn’t want to rely on it to demonstrate I had met my health and safety obligations. While it did provide (very) basic frameworks, they are lacking in useful content. Even specifically asking to see a SMP which would be HSWA 2015 compliant, the result was exactly the same as other SMP’s. It appears while ChatGPT is able to identify 7 basic elements of a safety plan, it isn’t currently able to identify the requirements of the HSWA and provide a SMP to meet them. So, would I rely on ChatGPT to write my safety plan? Highly unlikely, at this point in time.

While this might be a disappointing result for people looking for a quick fix, it’s probably doing them a favour. Health and safety isn’t about having a suite of swanky documents. The true litmus test is the activity which captures the organisations safety culture. A safety management plan should set out the actions and resources required to effectively manage health and safety. We have seen a number of significant prosecutions where businesses have had a SMP in place, however there was no activity to put it in to action. Without any activity a SMP might as well be a text book. Capturing activity is an important topic, but not the focus of today’s post. Check out our blog to learn more about this.

It may sound like I’m dismissing ChatGPT, but it does have it’s uses. Most business owners are aware of the risks in their business. They have processes in place for daily tasks to make sure workers, visitors and others Stay Safe. What confuses and frustrates, or just gets popped in the ‘gonna get too’s’ is how to document these procedures. This where ChatGPT can save hours of staring blankly at a screen while waiting for a bolt of inspiration. Asking ChatGPT to write SOP’s can save hours of contemplation, pondering and frustration. It appeared that the more granular the request, the more accurate the outcomes were. The results should be compared against the procedures in action. Ask the question, are there any gaps in our procedures? If there are, are they relevant? Do we have procedures in place which aren’t identified by ChatGPT? These should be added to the SOP. Like all things health and safety, they should reflect the nature of the activity. I would caution business owners not to rely on search results to base a safety plan on.

Effective safety management requires business leaders to understand the risks in their operation and how to mitigate them. While it may be able to spit out a template, it doesn’t have the capacity to ensure business owners understand how to manage their health and safety obligations. What it can do is significantly reduce the amount of time businesses need to document policies and procedures. While they wont’ be polished it can be a great tool to get the ball rolling, and if that prompts discussion on what you do and how you do it safely, then that’s got to be a good thing.

ChatGPT should be used with caution. The best mechanism to ensure you meet your health and safety obligations is touch base with an accredited health and safety practitioner.