Focus on Safety Management Systems
“Data based decision making is one of the most important facets of any management system” ICAO SMM (Doc9859) 3rd Ed, Chapter 2
Regardless of size or geographical location, aviation operators and service providers will be required to implement a Safety Management System. Civil aviation regulations, based on FAA 14 CFR Part 5, IS-BAO, ACSF and ICAO’s SMS framework, reference safety reporting as a key source of data for operational issues and the management and analysis of that data as a fundamental requirement of an SMS.
A Safety Management System is about managing risk, and without a comprehensive toolset, it is impossible to move from the historic reactive management of safety (analysis of accidents and incidents) to a required proactive approach. Both qualitative and quantitative data needs to be collected and categorized to allow effective trend analysis.
There are certain components that a Safety Management System should incorporate:
Quality / Safety Assurance An SMS should be underpinned by the principles of Quality and Safety Assurance. Therefore, an SMS should integrate the key areas of a QMS: Through incorporating quality management within the SMS, safety performance is improved
Quality / Safety Assurance
An SMS should be underpinned by the principles of Quality and Safety Assurance. Therefore, an SMS should integrate the key areas of a QMS:
Through incorporating quality management within the SMS, safety performance is improved
There are standard reports that are mandated by authorities and regulators, such as air safety reports. However, an organization should look beyond those that are mandatory and try to report on anything that can influence their SMS or their commercial and operational strategy. Reports should be easy to use, accessible and capture all the relevant data at source.
Safety risk assessment is an important function of a Safety Management System and an essential element of safety risk assessment is hazard identification. There are a number of tools and techniques available to identify hazards. Once identified, they can be managed through the SMS
Once hazards are identified, they are managed through Risk Management. This is done by ensuring barriers are in place to prevent undesirable events from happening. The Risk Management process should be central to the SMS. The purpose of this is to enable an organization to avoid or mitigate the impact of the hazards identified through the hazard identification process.
Continual review of the evidence provided through reports and audits enable an organization to monitor their performance against pre-defined parameters. They can easily identify when things are starting to go wrong and can address any issues before they become a major problem
By implementing an effective Safety Management System based on the above components, an organization will be able to quantify the following as a return on their investment:
- More informed decision making
- Improved safety by managing risk effectively
- Enable better resource allocation, resulting in increased efficiencies and reduced costs
- Create an open corporate culture that encourages reporting
- Demonstrate due diligence
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