Knowing Who Is Involved in Your Aviation SMS
Top management requires that all personnel must participate in the safety management system (SMS) program. Wishes and reality are two different ideas and the reality is that most employees don't care about the company's safety program.
Management needs tools to offer assurance that "employees are actually involved in their SMS program."
The Logins By Division chart is an extremely valuable tool for assessing which employee segments are participating in the safety program, and which sections are not. The precondition of this chart is that safety programs have aviation safety software or computer server that can track user activity.
Also, divisions are simply how an organization segments users in its SMS program. Divisions are commonly different departments or different organizational locations. For more information about division in a safety program, see our blog article that discusses what divisions are in aviation SMS.
What the Logins By Division chart shows is a breakdown of:
- The number of users who have logged into the safety program for each division in the past 30 days;
- Out of the total number of users in each division.
In our example above, we can see that in the Flight Ops division, 15 out of a total of 40 users logged into their SMS program in the past 30 days. This information is critical because if an employee is not logging into their SMS, then they are not:
- Reporting hazard issues;
- Reading safety messages;
- Dealing with assigned safety tasks;
- Viewing current safety concerns; or
- Or directly participating in the safety program.
Uncovering Resistance to Your SMS
The main concern for safety managers and front-line employees alike is participation. Aviation safety programs with involved employees tend to have high-quality risk management. The Logins By Division chart shows us exactly this: how involved employees are.
But this chart shows even more than that, as it breaks down logins by division. This information is extremely helpful for safety management on several levels, as it:
- Shows which segments of the safety program are involved;
- Shows which segments of the safety program need to be more involved;
- Where possible areas of resistance to the program are; and
- Acts as a reference point for involvement vs risk for each division.
The last two points are rather subtle implications of this chart, but none the less are an invaluable tool for aviation safety managers. If managers see that one division, in particular, has substandard logins, then they know that their safety promotional efforts need to be focused there. Also, managers can compare the risk of reported hazards against the level of involvement for each division – as involvement increases we would expect to see less risk with reported hazards.
Have you read...
- 4 Tools to Find Resistance to Your Boss' Aviation SMS Program
- Checklist to Quantify Resistance to Your Aviation SMS
- Overcoming Resistance to Change Through Transparency in Aviation SMS Programs
Important Things to Remember When Looking at This Chart
This chart displays meaningful data for how involved an aviation safety management system’s employees are as a whole and in each part of the organization – however, this data also hinges on WHO an organization’s users are.
For example, an aviation SMS program may have 10 total users in a particular division. However, it’s possible that some of those employees:
- Are only temporary users;
- Are seasonal workers;
- Are part-time; or
- Are on leave of some kind.
In other words, it’s possible that the total number of users is not an accurate reflection of the working number of users. Every organization will differ on this – it’s simply up to the safety managers to have a good idea of how many regular users there are in each division.
How to Access This Data
As said, having access to this chart entails either a company-wide server that can track user logins or company-wide safety software that can track logins. Each employee in the SMS program would have a unique username to login with, and the software would simply tally the unique number of user logins in the last 30 days out of the total number of users.
Moreover, since this chart specifically shows us user logins per division, those numbers would be tallied for each division rather than the company as a whole.
How Does This Chart Relate to SMS Requirements?
Depending on how this chart is used, it can be used to fulfill many different aspects of aviation SMS requirements. For example:
- Safety Assurance pillar of aviation safety: this chart allows safety managers to ensure performance monitoring of their safety program;
- Safety Promotion pillar of aviation safety: it directs managers to where they do/don’t need to focus on promotion; and
- Continuous Improvement: knowing who is participating in your safety program is critical for improving aviation SMS performance.
In many ways, this chart is a powerful tool where in the organization the safety management needs to focus their safety efforts.
Who Should Care about This Chart
Directly, this chart is most pertinent to the safety management - including safety managers and department heads. Both areas of management have direct oversight over cultivating employee involvement in the safety program - both in the program as a whole as in each division.
Moreover, this chart has subtle but far-reaching implications for everyone in the safety program:
- All employees who are and aren't practicing proper involvement should be adequately acknowledged; and
- Safety executives will want to ensure that the allotted safety budget is being used efficiently.
Final Thought: Other Related Charts
There are several other charts that can expand the information found in the Logins By Division chart. The first is the All Issues By Division chart, which shows the total number of reported issues within a specified time frame. This chart allows safety management to assess the quality of active users. In other words, a safety manager can verify that the number of Logins By Division corresponds to the reported issues from each division.
If logins are high, but reported numbers are low, then safety managers should investigate further. Likewise, if login numbers are low but a number of reported issues is unnaturally high, then that is an indication that only a few employees in that division are fairly involved.
There are other creative ways in which safety management can correspond the two charts to find more useful information about their aviation safety management system, such as by looking at proactive issues or audit issues as they correspond to employee involvement in the SMS program for each division.
Interested in learning about other safety charts?
- Safety Chart: Current Aviation Risk Management Priorities
- Safety Chart: Track Safety Performance in Aviation SMS Programs
- Safety Chart: Where to Focus Hazard Identification
Every employee has safety responsibilities. How do you track whether all employees understand their duties and responsibilities toward safety? Do you need help?
We believe a best practice for SMS programs is for all employees to understand their duties and responsibilities. This activity should be documented in your SMS. If you need help with your SMS, it may be you lack tools to effectively manage your SMS.
Originally posted May 2016. Last updated December 2018.