Safety Management Systems

Table of Content

Starting with an informative policy set in place by management to lay out how the system will progress ND what all employees should expect from the system. This policy should contain a company commitment to safety as well as a goal statement to instill safety among all employees. The next component will help to ensure that basic safety guidance is being accomplished as well as establish written guidance on how to identify, analyze, implement and review any possible risks before action is taken.

This then brings us to a quality assurance kind of process, which will ensure all guidance is being followed. It also ensures that any risk control measures that were implemented in the prior component are achieving the desired outcomes. This in turn leaves us with the last component of an SMS which will make or break how well the system operates inside the organization. Proper training will be of the utmost importance in how effectively the program will work.

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By ensuring all components are appropriately established, a company will then be able to state that they are operating under a Safety Management System. Safety management systems (SMS), are a set of standards that an aviation business must establish to identify hazards and document a plan on how to effectively manage them. Not only do they need to effectively manage, but hey must also treat the program with as much importance as all other aspects of their business (FAA, 2010).

With safety being a large concern and focused factor in everyday aviation, it like much of the aviation community has evolved since the beginning of flight. In early aviation safety wasn’t as big of a factor as it is currently, primarily due to lack of knowledge and operational expertise which has been learned through time. Through research, technological improvements and learning from our mistakes, safety has gradually become just as important if not more important than some aspects of general business activities, such as financial, production, managerial, etc.

We have reached the level of safety that are at today through numerous programs and technical advancements, some programs you may have heard of before, such as Crew Resource Management (CRM), Maintenance Resource Management (MR..), and Human Performance. With the evolution of these programs we have been able to greatly increase all aspects of Aviation Safety, but is there ever such thing as being too safe? Well most immediate responses would be “of course not”, therefore this kind of Hough process is what brought about Safety Management Systems.

While these other systems are a great way to reduce and prevent accidents by root cause analysis of prior accidents, most accidents can be linked back to the organizational decisions and attitudes, which is where the term “organizational accident” came from (FAA, 2010). With Sums, organizations will be more proactive than reactive, as is the case with the above mentioned programs. Instead of sitting back and waiting for a risk to blatantly present itself, organizations will go looking for potential risks and identify how to effectively manage them using an organizational plan (Starker, 2012).

Through the evolution of safety, Sums have been adopted and required by a few different administrations and organizations. A few of the organizations worth mentioning are the Federal Aviation Administration (FM), Civil Aviation Authority (CA), and International Civil Aviation Organization (CIAO). The primary roles for the FAA and CA are to interpret national laws and establish enforceable aviation standards at the national level. The CIAO is a treaty organization that was originally developed by the united Nations to help remote safe and efficient development of civil aviation throughout the world.

The Ciaos basic function is to develop international Standards and Recommended Practices which are then used by participating countries when they develop their nation specific regulations, which in turn become national law (International Civil Aviation Organization, n. D. ). With the CIAO developing international standards, it’s no mystery’ that they are the leading motive in implementing Safety Management Systems throughout the world. Such as the rest of the Ciaos Standards and Recommended Practices (CARPS), the tankards for Sums that they are requiring all States to implement are primary guidelines not laws.

The standards ensure all states have a basic understanding of what a Safety Management System is comprised of and gives a standardized outline on what the system should include. Once each nation has adopted and established a Safety Management System, it is at that point considered a law by the governing nation, not the CIAO. With the CIAO being the one to set forth a uniform standard on Sums, they are used as the primary resource for each nation to develop an SMS program as to provide relied uniformity.

Although the CIAO is requiring each nation to have an SMS program in place, many countries have not finished designing a general SMS system outline to follow (Sickbay, 2013). Although many countries are yet to establish a SMS program, the FAA continues to be at the forefront of complying with CIAO standards. The FAA has been one administration that continues to focus heavily on aviation safety throughout the nation, and foresees the SMS program as the next big thing in continuing safety. The FAA has been pursuing other options to add to their original basic safety initiative hat they started over ten years ago, with the SMS being the answer.

Now that the CIAO has made SMS mandatory, the FAA has been steadily adapting and establishing new regulations to implement across the US. Although the CIAO has made Sums a requirement, the FAA is still working on how to enforce such a system. Only a few organizations are currently required to have an SMS in place and running. These organizations include; the Air Traffic Organization (TAT), Aviation Safety Organization (AVIS), Office of Airports (ARP), Office of Commercial Space Transportation (EAST), the Office of the Next

Generation Air Transportation System (NAG), and the Hazardous Materials Safety Program Office in the Office of Security and Hazardous Materials Safety (ASH). Although it is not a requirement for everyone, the governing FAA order 8000. AAA states that the program guide may also be used to implement Sums into other aviation fields as deemed necessary by the administrator (FAA, 2013). Although it has become a requirement for some, it is more than likely going to become mandatory for all aviation fields to utilize a SMS.

So over recent years the FAA has been working on Pilot Projects wrought the industry to help jump start the program throughout the industry. Pilot Projects are a basic way for participants to study and develop SMS programs, which in turn can be shared with their peers and the FAA to help establish better guidelines. The Pilot Projects are more so an evaluation and verification process on the new Sums. With each participant being given a set of guidelines to implement in the development of their own SMS, the participant will then be able to tailor to their own needs and build an SMS.

During the building process the FAA will be there to help clarify or redirect NY problems that the participants may have in developing their SMS, this is done through an office dedicated by the FAA solely for SMS development. While the participants establish and implement their program, they will be able to share what they have learned with their peers and the FAA. With this open line of communication they will be able to better learn from each other and the FAA can then set forth regulations that will be tailored to the service renders needs (FAA, 2013).

Now that we know the direction the FAA and CIAO are heading in to enhance safety, what is an SMS? Well a Safety Management System is a new way to systematically approach safety concerns and manage them efficiently and effectively. To do so an organization must approach the system through four basic components; Safety Policy, Safety Risk Management, Safety Assurance, and Safety Promotion. Some of these components might sound familiar, and that’s because they should be, the SMS is basically combining everything we currently know about safety and establishing a program to effectively and repeatedly use this information to control risk.

Safety Policy being the first component of an SMS is probably one f the most important. It is basically a local policy that a corporation or business needs to establish so that everyone inside the company can effectively comply with the SMS in its entirety. The policy should include a goal statement from management that ensures all employees understand the level of commitment that is being put forth at the organizational level to maintain the established SMS. Furthermore the policy should establish concise safety objectives and a clear process on how to maintain those objectives.

With a set of objectives being outlined early on, everyone involved n the SMS will have a clear understanding of how the system is meant to operate and how it can be beneficial throughout the company. During the policy writing process, it is important that ground rules and guidelines be established as to ensure everyone knows the methods and processes that will be required to effectively meet the safety goal. With a proper policy established, you then have the ground works to adapt rules and standards that may already be in place.

Some of these rules that may be adopted could come from the next component of SMS, which is no stranger to the aviation feet community. Safety Risk Management (SRAM) has been around the aviation industry for quite a while, thus it is being implemented into the SMS. The main idea behind SRAM, is to establish a continuing process that will help identify and analyze possible risks. This is a continuing process due to the fact that once a risk is identified it doesn’t simply go away.

A risk, even though appropriate control measures have been taken, is still a risk. For example: if a tripping hazard has been identified and a barrier has been placed around the tripping hazard, is there still a risk of tripping? In most asses no, but if you analyze the risk a little more in depth, you have now created another tripping hazard depending on what kind of barrier was established. With the possibilities of creating another risk while trying to eliminate another, a proper analysis in the first place could eliminate this potential.

So by determining and analyzing the risk through a more thorough process, you can then assess and control the risk by establishing appropriate risk control measures. By documenting a procedure on how to continually perform this process for every risk encountered, you can then effectively engage safety risks. This then brings us to our next component of the SMS, Safety Assurance. Safety Assurance is designed to ensure that all risk control measures that have been previously established are achieving their intended goals (CIAO, 2013).

By establishing and implementing a solid safety assurance plan into your SMS, companies will be able to overview all risk control measures that have been implemented and verify that they are appropriately reducing the risk at hand. This process is similar to Quality Assurance in the aspect that, once a task is completed, a review of said task or conformity and acceptability may be required to ensure the end outcome is as desired. While establishing a SMS, some companies may opt to implement current Quality Assurance standards into their program, ensuring uniformity throughout all aspects of their company.

This process in an SMS is extremely important due to the fact that it will help a company recognize if any of their procedures or control measures can be built upon. Safety management can basically be looked at as a review process to Safety Risk Management. This leaves us with the last of the four SMS components, Safety Promotion. Researching, analyzing risk and policy writing isn’t going to do a company any good unless it is properly implemented through Safety Promotion. Safety Promotion is where an SMS is brought full circle by doing just that, promoting.

This can be done through a variety of different avenues, but the best is Of course going to be training (CIAO, 2013). This kind of training can come from computer based applications or a sit down course, but hands on training may be the only way for employees to really understand the importance of an SMS. Documented training is not the only ay to promote the SMS, companies should also instill a sense of safety culture throughout the entire company, including having an open line of communication on the subject.

Lower level employees should feel empowered to voice safety concerns to whatever level of management necessary. Once all employees are properly trained on the entire SMS process and how it is going to be implemented into every day processes, companies may then announce that they have a full Safety Management System in place and operating. Even though a Safety Management System has its apparent benefit of providing a safer workplace, there is also a monetary benefit when establishing an SMS.

Although there is some criticism out there on how much it will cost to build, manage, and maintain a SMS, some are forgetting the basics to creating revenue. When there is a SMS established and maintained properly, a company can then rely on this program to effectively manage all aspects of safety, whether be new or adopted from previous company policy. If a company is effectively managing safety, then the possibilities of a major incident or accident occurring have been greatly reduced, which in turn save the company money. Can the initial tart up of an SMS cost the company money?

Yes, but seeing as that a current safety program and training is required for all aviation companies, it’s not likely to cost any extra, as well as the fact that all CIAO and current FAA guidelines do not require a separate department to handle a Safety Management System. A company can essentially over view their current safety program and possibly eliminate duplicate policies by establishing a main SMS. With safety management systems being around for a few years now, there is still a lot to learn about how the program can effectively control sis throughout daily operations.

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Safety Management Systems. (2018, Mar 15). Retrieved from

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