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Tyler Britton

350,000 words and counting on safety risk management concepts, guidance, tools, and best practices.

Recent Posts

4 Pillars | Most Important Elements of Change Management in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 23, 2019 6:01:00 AM

What Is Change Management in Aviation SMS

Since November 2006, most commercial aviation service providers  have been required to implement formal aviation safety management systems (SMS) to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) mandate.

These operators must develop and maintain a formal risk management process for identifying hazards and implementing needed changes in their operational environments to help reduce risk to acceptable levels. These changes usually effect existing services and operations; however, new service offerings or operation types will trigger the need to initiate a change management project.

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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

How Safety Managers Shape Safety Culture in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 22, 2019 5:26:00 AM

Aviation Safety Manager's Allegiance to Company

You depend on your safety manager to monitor and improve safety in your area of operations, regardless of whether you are an:

  • Airline Pilot;
  • Aviation maintenance technician;
  • Baggage handler; or
  • Flight dispatcher.

Most employees instinctively trust safety managers to act in your best interest – to do the right thing for you. Perhaps this is a naive assumption made by employees.

Safety managers owe their allegiance first to the company, but I still like to think safety managers are sincerely interested in the well-being of all employees and customers. Loyalty to both parties can be possible, or so I like to believe. Legally, the fiduciary responsibility to the company is the general expectation.

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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

5 Rules for Selecting KPIs in Aviation SMS - with Free KPI Resources

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 21, 2019 6:09:00 AM

Difficulty of Selecting KPIs in Aviation Safety Programs

Selecting key performance indicators (KPIs) in aviation safety management systems (SMS) is neither simple nor always intuitive. In addition to being time consuming and costly, selecting and monitoring KPIs can also be a stressful experience.

Lives depend on choosing good KPIs. Your job may depend on selecting good KPIs.

Fortunately, selecting KPIs is helped by the fact that:

  • There are proven steps for choosing KPIs in aviation SMS implementations;
  • There are documented “rules” for choosing key performance indicators; and
  • Having specific safety goals and objectives will inform which KPIs should be chosen.
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Topics: Key Performance Indicators

4 Pillars | What Is Risk Assessment in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 19, 2019 5:34:00 AM

How to be Compliant with ICAO Safety Risk Assessment and MitigationWhat Is Risk Assessment in Aviation SMS

Operators implementing formal aviation safety management systems (SMS) need to develop, practice and maintain a documented process of risk analysis, risk assessment, and risk control to an acceptable level of safety (ALoS). We say that the process needs to be formal in the sense that risk assessments/analysis needs to be documented and communicated to employees based on their participatory role in the aviation SMS.

The risk assessment process in aviation SMS starts with hazard identification and hazard reporting. Once reported, aviation safety managers will analyze affected systems and assess the risk in terms of the following:

  • Probability of negative outcomes; and
  • Severity of most likely negative outcomes.
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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

4 Pillars | What Safety Assurance Really Means in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 18, 2019 5:59:00 AM

Definition of Aviation SMS Safety Assurance

In November 2006, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandated that all member states implement formal aviation safety management systems (SMS). To facilitate compliance, ICAO provided guidance to regulatory authorities and aviation service providers with the publication of the Safety Management Manual (SMM), now in the fourth edition as of 2019.

An aviation SMS implementation covers considerable territory, including, but not limited to:

  • Safety accountabilities;
  • Management responsibilities;
  • Hazard identification and risk analysis;
  • Risk management processes; and
  • Employee SMS training.

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To add structure to ICAO's SMS guidance, the SMM is broken down into four major components, which have since been fondly referred to as the four SMS pillars. These  SMS pillars are:

  • Safety policy;
  • Safety risk management;
  • Safety assurance; and
  • Safety promotion.
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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance, Quality-Safety Management

Return on Investment for Aviation SMS Implementations

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 17, 2019 6:24:00 AM

How SMS Affects Companies’ Finances

While the safety benefits are often stressed far more than the financial benefits of aviation safety management systems (SMS), this is a mistake. When companies benefit financially from a safety initiative, what this means is that they benefit financially because the safety initiative is actually improving safety.

Return on investment for aviation SMS implementations is actually not as confusing to calculate as you might think. When we are talking about return on investment, we are talking about how an aviation SMS affects companies finances.

When it comes to implementing an aviation SMS, there are two wonderful facts regarding SMS and finances:

  • Effective aviation SMS initiatives are relatively inexpensive; and
  • Negative safety outcomes are often extremely expensive, and preventing even just one accident per year can save organizations many millions of dollars.
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Topics: Quality-Safety Management

5 Ways to Avoid Common Aviation SMS Audit Findings

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 16, 2019 6:03:00 AM

First Thing to Prepare for Aviation SMS Audits

Audits can be extremely stressful. Especially if things haven't been going well in your aviation safety management system (SMS)  in terms of performance or implementation progress.

At this point, there's only one thing that you need to do before anything else:

  • Relax.

No audit is going to be perfect. There are going to be findings. Obviously, the fewer, the better. The point is not to avoid findings altogether but to see continuous improvement:

  • In the severity of findings;
  • By not having recurring findings; and
  • In the number of findings.
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Topics: Quality-Safety Management

What Is a Risk Event in Aviation Risk Management and Why You Should Be Using It

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 14, 2019 6:08:00 AM

Difference Between Risk and Risk Event

Last year we released a Hazard and Risk Competency Quiz, which deals a lot with the concept of Risk Events. Overall the assessment – which was purposefully very difficult – was very successful.

We received a lot of feedback about Risk Events, and for the most part aviation safety managers fall into 3 categories concerning Risk Events. If you are familiar with the assessment, which category do you fall into?

  • Unfamiliar with “Risk Event” but thought it was interesting;
  • Found the concept and use of “Risk Event” very helpful in risk management activities; or
  • Disagreed with the use of “risk”, citing traditional definitions of risk as an argument.
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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

4 Pillars | What Is Safety Risk Management

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 12, 2019 7:05:00 AM

Safety Risk Management Process

If there’s one takeaway for new professionals in aviation safety management, it’s that aviation risk management is a process. It is not a single, solid “thing.”

This process is cyclical, and can be identified by several stages that form a systematic approach to safety risk management, including:

  1. Establishing acceptable levels of safety, including defining likelihood and severity;
  2. Hazard identification, including identification of risks, hazard mechanisms, and other safety weaknesses;
  3. Evaluation of safety behavior, bureaucracy, and other factors that influence safety;
  4. Creation of control measures designed to mitigate the likelihood and impact of hazards and risk consequences; 
  5. Implementation of risk controls into the existing safety management system; 
  6. Monitoring the operating environment and efficacy of risk controls; and
  7. Communicating risk to employees and stakeholders.
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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

3 Reasons Why Aviation Safety Culture Leads Directly to Safety Performance

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 11, 2019 6:06:00 AM

What Is Aviation Safety Culture

By definition, aviation safety culture is an organization’s commitment to safety. I tend to find this definition limiting.

Perhaps a better way to understand safety culture is the means of realizing safety success, in which commitment is just one part.

Of course, safety culture in the aviation industry needs to be couple with an organized, compliant aviation safety management system (SMS) in order to increase an organization's ability for safety success. By safety success, I mean that your SMS implementation demonstrates:

  • Good performance on aviation safety audits;
  • Well-developed performance metrics;
  • High quality hazard identification and safety reporting culture; and
  • An aviation safety database that demonstrates a strong historical precedent of continuous improvement.
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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

Site content provided by Northwest Data Solutions is meant for informational purposes only. Opinions presented here are not provided by any civil aviation authority or standards body.



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