The Isle of Man TT’s new Safety Management System (SMS) has been unveiled, aiming to drive safety performance, and safeguard the future sustainability of the iconic event, a move likely aimed at proactively fending off pearl-clutchers who are increasingly closing down anything remotely dangerous.
The SMS ushers in a new, systematic approach to managing risk, encompassing organisational structure and policies; hazard identification and mitigation; third party assurance; and the promotion and communication of standards.
All areas of the event have been subjected to careful review under this new process, which is designed to ensure unnecessary risks are mitigated. To fans watching worldwide the SMS won’t always be noticeable, but to teams, riders and those working on the event its introduction marks the beginning of a significant change in culture.
A range of new initiatives resulting from the SMS will be rolled out in time for TT 2022. Changes will be delivered across much of the organisational structure, bringing numerous benefits and further investment to a number of areas, including race management; regulations and standards; accident response and investigation; marshalling; medical provision; and paddock infrastructure.
TT Production Manager, Nige Crennell, has led the SMS project. Nige joined the TT organisation in 2018 after a career in the RAF, first as a Tornado pilot and more latterly in aviation risk management. Working with a range of stakeholders across Isle of Man Government and the wider TT organisational network, Nige took full advantage of the two-year hiatus to start the journey and ensure that when the TT resumes in 2022, it does so from a much stronger position.
“For the TT to be sustainable in the long term we have to be able to manage effectively the risks associated with the event and protect against reputational damage. This isn’t about making sure that everyone is wearing the right kind of hi-vis jacket. It’s about clearly defining roles and responsibilities. We want to be confident that everyone involved is doing their job to the best of their ability and has all of the tools and training required to do so.”
Fellow Manxman, Doctor Gareth Davies, has also played a significant role. Doctor Davies is one of the Chief Medical Officers for the TT and, until very recently, was head of London’s Air Ambulance, leading teams in the response to London’s major incidents: the Paddington, Southall and Potters Bar rail disasters, the 7/7 bombings, and the terrorist attacks at Westminster and London Bridge. Whilst Doctor Davies will continue with the TT’s own Air-Med provision, his decades working in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) have helped to shape much of the project.
Gareth Davies – Chief Medical Officer
“It’s been an incredible process and one I’m proud to be part of. There may be some mourning for some of the more outdated and makeshift elements of the TT, but you can’t apply professional excellence without making changes – and that’s the business we’re in. There’ll be new generations of TT fan who will embrace what we’re doing and will support it wholeheartedly. I’ll be proud to hand over this new version of the TT to the next custodians, which is all we are.”
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