SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

Tyler Britton

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

Recent Posts

4 Critical Elements in Your Aviation SMS' Safety Policy Component

Posted by Tyler Britton on Nov 6, 2019 6:10:00 AM

Safety Policy Greatly Affects Safety Culture and Safety Performance

"Safety Policy" is a major asset for building an effective safety culture in aviation safety management systems (SMS). An aviation SMS is a complex system of inter-related components and elements, and "Safety Policy" is one of the four SMS components (or pillars). For a quick review, the four SMS components are:

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Topics: 1-Safety Policy

Why Safety Promotion Component is the Overlooked Pillar in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on Nov 4, 2019 5:03:00 AM

What is Safety Promotion Component of 4 Pillars?

Aviation safety management systems (SMS) have been required by most aviation service providers since the November 2006 ICAO mandate. To add structure to SMS implementations and to educate safety professionals, ICAO provides SMS implementation guidance in the form of a Safety Management Manual (SMM), now in the fourth edition.

In the SMM, aviation SMS implementation requirements are logically grouped under four components (also known as four pillars):

  • Safety Policy;
  • Safety Risk Management (SRM);
  • Safety Assurance (SA); and
  • Safety Policy.

The four components, or pillars, are further broken down into twelve elements, with between two and five elements for each pillar. Safety Promotion pillar has two elements:

  • Training and education; and
  • Safety communication.
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Topics: 4-Safety Promotion

5 Questions to Improve Risk Management Decision Making Processes

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 30, 2019 5:59:00 AM

What Risk Management Decisions Are

Risk management decision making processes will dictate the success of your aviation safety management system (SMS). Period.

Every change, no matter how small, arises from a risk management decision. Decision making processes in risk management programs are often seen as a formal, documentable process, such as those seen in the U.S. military leadership training courses.

Alternatively, risk management decision making can also be an informal, “everyday” kind of process. Some prime examples of risk management decisions in an aviation SMS include:

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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

Conducting Investigations in Aviation SMS Risk Management Scenarios

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 28, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Importance of Investigations in Aviation Risk Management

Investigations are the cornerstone of quality assurance efforts in aviation safety management systems (SMS). They are an attempt to answer why and how safety events occur. Investigations also commonly occur in response to reactive and proactive risk management activities after safety issues are submitted through the SMS' safety reporting system.

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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

How to Sustain an SMS Implementation (with Free Resources)

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 23, 2019 6:10:00 AM

Characteristics of a Sustainable SMS Implementation

Sustainability is a modern buzz word, and aviation safety management systems (SMS) are no exception. Sustainable SMS implementations are those that survive

  • upper management personnel changes,
  • safety manager changes, and
  • high volume of employee turnover.

The question every safety manager and/or upper manager needs to ask is, does my SMS implementation achieve these sustainable goals?

Chances are, the answer is no – not yet. That’s okay. Aviation SMS implementations are always a work in progress.

Implementations are long, drawn-out marathons, not sprints. There will be times of steady progress; however, most SMS implementations will also suffer setbacks. How does your company identify these obstacles? What is your plan for dealing with these common scenarios should they plague your aviation SMS?

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Topics: Aviation SMS Implementation

5 Outcomes for Risk Analysis Activities in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 21, 2019 6:08:00 AM

Perform Risk Analysis to Meet Oversight Compliance Expectations

It hardly needs to be said that performing a risk analysis in aviation safety management systems (SMS) is absolutely essential. There are many opportunities in the aviation SMS' risk management processes for safety professionals and operational department heads to determine whether the potential consequences of conducting operations in the presence of hazards remains either:

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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

What Are Important Activities in Safety Risk Management (SRM)?

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

What Is Safety Risk Management in Aviation SMS?

Depending on the context and your educational background, safety risk management in aviation safety management systems (SMS) can mean a couple different things:

  1. Second component of ICAO's four pillars; and
  2. Processes to identify, describe, monitor and manage hazards affecting safe aviation operations.
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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

What Are Stages of Safety Events As Defined by FAA

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 14, 2019 5:51:00 AM

Stages of Safety Events with FAA vs. Others

Regulatory oversight agencies in various countries/regions possess inconsistent definitions for:

  • hazards,
  • risks, and
  • the stages of safety events.

Make no mistake, it’s extremely important how these safety elements are defined and conceptualized. It will determine how you practice risk management and safety assurance activities.

If your definitions don’t quite align with your oversight agency’s definitions, a keen auditor will notice disparities in your risk management documentation. The implications are:

  • Your entire hazard register does not appropriately identify “hazards”;
  • All hazard analysis documentation will be slightly misguided; and
  • Risk controls may be controlling the wrong elements.
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Topics: FAA Compliance

How to Use Safety Surveys to Improve Safety Culture in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 9, 2019 2:12:00 PM

Safety Survey Benefits Run Deep

Surveys seem a bit old-fashioned. That’s probably because they are.

Surveys have been around and popular for years. There are many uses for safety surveys besides getting the opinions of the workforce. Surveys are also useful for:

  • Promoting the aviation safety management system (SMS);
  • Teaching employees about processes or procedures;
  • Confirming management's suspicions about employee behaviors.

Surveys are the ultimate information gathering tool to determine how employees view the organization's aviation SMS.

  • Do employees care about the SMS?
  • How many employees completed the safety survey?
  • What does your survey tell management about what to expect for safety performance?

These are questions an astute safety manager may already know, but cold, hard, truthful numbers are what the safety manager can take to top management to effect change. Imagine two scenarios:

In Scenario "A," a safety manager appears more credible saying, "Only 55% of employees bothered to respond to our safety culture survey, which leads me to believe our aviation SMS will become more effective once employees take ownership of the SMS and realize the benefits."

In Scenario "B," the safety manager may tell the accountable executive, "Employees really don't seem to care about our SMS. I get a feeling that we are losing money and operating with unnecessary risk because employees are not reporting safety issues. Something is holding us back for achieving our safety objectives, but I think it stems from employee attitudes."

As you can imagine, upper management would be more receptive to Scenario A, as the safety manager's assertions are based on an actual analysis, instead of a gut feeling. As you can readily see, safety surveys can easily increase a safety manager's credibility when using statistics versus a "gut feeling."

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Topics: 4-Safety Promotion

How to Perform Risk Analysis in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 7, 2019 5:15:00 AM

What Are You Looking for When Performing Risk Analysis

During the risk management process in an aviation safety management system (SMS), one of the expected tasks is to analyze risk of hazards associated with

  • reported safety issues;
  • audit findings; and
  • proposed operational changes.

When you perform risk analysis on whatever type of a safety issue in aviation SMS, your goal is to understand how and why the underlying issue effects risk exposure in your organization. Understanding how and why an issue effects risk exposure is the logical step that leads to being able assess how much it affects risk exposure.

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Topics: Risk Management Training

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