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How Does Aviation Safety Software Improve Safety? - Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on Feb 5, 2019 2:37:58 PM

Aviation Safety Software Prioritizes Safety

How Does Aviation Risk Management Software Improve Safety?

Most of us have experienced the following: sitting on the runway for over an hour wondering why the plane isn’t moving. The pilot has already apologized and given the “reason” for the delay: the daunting and nebulous “technical difficulties.”

For passengers, this type of situation is frustrating at best, and at worst unnerving, even scary.

Yet even when sitting on the tarmac, frustrated and confused, passengers should take comfort in the fact that the aviation industry takes countless precautions to keep passengers safe.

The fact is that above all else, our top priority is safety and safety managers have an excellent opportunity to not only contribute to safety, and SMS requirements, but also to the financial bottom line.

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Managing Risk Will Remain a Never-Ending Task

We all know that aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS) are put in place to enhance safety and to assess every possible hazard and risk, such as:

  • is the engine performing optimally;
  • are the plane doors screwed down tight as a clam;
  • does the plane contains leaks or breaches;
  • are their birds or FOD on the runway;
  • is the tarmac clear of tools/vehicles?
  • And so on.

Unfortunately, hazards will always be as a cancerous appendage to the aviation industry. Fortunately, our industry has made remarkable strides in both drafting and optimizing safety standards within the past two decades.

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What Role Does Aviation Safety Software Play?

The reason why aviation service providers enjoy higher safety standards today lie within one word: Software. The Computer Age is by far the safest time for passengers in the history of aviation. Aviation SMS software has enabled hazards to be rapidly

  • Identified;
  • Reported;
  • Stored for easy retrieval;
  • Organized;
  • Responded to;
  • Mitigated;
  • Monitored; and
  • Analyzed for trends.

Modern Aviation Safety Management Software Shrinks Our World

In effect, safety management software allows the aviation industry to mature and take a more proactive and predictive – as opposed to reactive – approach to safety. Secondly, SMS software allows SMS activities to be performed in global-real-time: in other words, anybody, anywhere, can be aware of - and report – hazards as they happen.

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To see how software has impacted aviation safety, simply browse through the history of the Aviation Safety Network's Database on Safety Occurrences. The trend is clearly looking good.

To put that data into perspective, take a look at the number of fatal commercial crashes in the graph below:

Fatal Accidents Graph

There are three important takeaways here:

  • The steady decline of accidents since the middle 90’s at the advent of computer software;
  • 2014 recorded the second lowest number of accidents on record (this report is five years old);
  • Most importantly, 2014 also recorded a record number of departures, which means that the percentage of departures to crashes continues to exponentially decrease;

Clearly proactive, preventative risk management strategies are rapidly improving aviation safety. CNN would seem to agree.

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Modern Safety Management Assures Confidence in Aviation Industry

It is comforting to know that that as SMS software becomes more robust, more capable, and more integrated into the aviation industry, we can count on flights becoming safer as well. As safety standards change and SMS software grows more sophisticated, user-friendly and capable, we can expect that the aviation industry will continue to invest more capital in the best aviation safety management software.

Hazards, risk and risk controls can be monitored in real time to reduce risk to as low as reasonably possible. Risk is reduced not only by safety risk management (SRM) and safety assurance (SA) processes, but by SMS software that has risk management capabilities.

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Ultimately, the aviation industry’s level of success depends on its ability to keep passengers safe – and ensure that they feel safe as well.

Take Malaysia Airlines for example. Two commercial crashes in 2014 have nearly put the company out of business in only a year. Why? Because passengers have lost faith in Malaysia Air’s safety standards.

In the aviation industry, safety and success are interchangeable words. It’s that simple.

Which brings us back to why aviation safety management software matters:

  • This sophisticated and ever-changing SMS software plays a fundamental part in preventative, proactive an d predictive safety in the aviation industry;
  • I would be willing to bet that most passengers aren’t even aware that safety management software exists, and it’s our job to educate and remind passengers that countless resources, manpower, and safety software driven by historical precedent and latest technologies reinforce their safety;
  • We need to improve proactive hazard reporting and documenting all real hazards. minor incidents and close calls. The evolution of safety management software, and ultimately the safety of the aviation industry as a whole depends on stakeholders diligently reporting new/recurring hazards and anything that looks potentially unsafe.
  • As an industry as a whole, we have the capability of accepting incredible amounts of data in the forms of safety reporting systems and auditing systems. What the aviation safety industry workflow has lacked is an efficient methodology or processes that is supported by aviation SMS software. Trend analysis is made incredibly easy now that aviation SMS software provides the ability to easily document, categorize and dispatch minor incidents using safety risk management (SRM) and safety assurance (SA) processes.
  • Aviation SMS software should bring two traditionally separate systems, SRM and SA, and integrate them to allow continuous performance monitoring of the SMS. When SRM and SA systems can talk to each other, safety professionals and operational department heads can monitor the effectiveness of risk controls in real time.

SRM and SA Processes

Final Thoughts on Evolution of Aviation Safety Management Technologies

Let’s face it, at a fundamental level, an aircraft is a metal tube traveling five miles above the ground at around 500mph – a scary prospect at best. That being said, let's continue to improve safety management strategies and the respective SMS software.

Aviation safety software influences safety culture and the effectiveness of aviation SMS. Your SMS will never realize maximum return on investment and other intangible benefits without the ability to easily receive safety reports and treat them very quickly. Modern aviation safety software is powered by enterprise grade databases that can securely store and retrieve large amounts of data.

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SMS is a process that works if you have tools to reduce the SMS documentation requirements. The easiest way to deal with the SMS documentation requirements is to "not deal with them," which is what many failing aviation SMS suffer from.

A failing SMS may either:

  • not understand how an SMS is truly designed to reduce operational risk; or
  • lack the tools to practice proactive and predictive risk management; or
  • lack the training required to take full advantage of the aviation safety software; or
  • have short term business requirements to not spend more than necessary on safety.

In short, aviation safety software increases the risk management capabilities of safety professionals. Managers can be assured of better decision-making abilities when they have data to make performance based decisions instead of "gut based decisions."


If you are wanting to reduce your risk exposure by using aviation safety software to specifically address SMS requirements, we can help. Please watch these short demo videos to see whether we are a good fit for you.

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Have questions? Like what you see? You can start using SMS Pro within two days and have access to mature, aviation risk management procedures that align with prescribed SRM and SA processes.

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Published October 2015. Last updated September 2019.

Topics: Risk Management Software

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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