SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

Audit Checklist: 10 Things to Prepare for Aviation SMS Audits

Posted by Tyler Britton on Dec 5, 2019 6:05:00 AM

Things to Prepare for Aviation SMS Audits

There are many aviation audit checklists available online.

While these checklists offer many specific tasks you need to perform, few checklists offer a broad overview of things that airports, airlines, and other aviation service providers should do to augment audit performance.

The purpose of aviation safety management systems (SMS) is to continuously improve safety performance while also improving the business' operational processes. This continuous improvement is expected to be realized by:

  • Identifying hazards to operational safety;
  • Reporting the safety hazard to management to be treated;
  • Collecting and analyzing safety information; 
  • Determining whether hazard's associated risk is acceptable; 
  • Implementing or reinforcing risk controls to mitigate risk; and
  • Continue to monitor system for hazards.
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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance, Quality-Safety Management

How to Define Acceptable Level of Safety (ALoS) in Aviation SMS

Posted by Tyler Britton on Nov 22, 2019 6:10:00 AM

What Is an Acceptable Level of Safety (ALoS)

The objective of aviation safety management systems (SMS) is to

  1. Proactively manage safety,
  2. Identify and report potential safety hazards,
  3. Determine risk to operational safety; and
  4. Implement risk controls to mitigate identified risk.

When an aviation service provider evaluates their risk to operational safety, they have to ask themselves a very pointed, and sometimes uncomfortable question: "What is our risk appetite?"

The term Acceptable Level of Safety (ALoS) defines an aviation service provider’s minimum level of acceptable risk for a given safety issue. “Acceptable” describes the need for no further mitigatory actions on the part of the service provider for the safety concern in question. This determination will be made based on the probability and severity of the evaluated safety concern.

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Topics: Quality-Safety Management

How to Conduct Internal SMS Audits in Aviation Industry

Posted by Tyler Britton on Nov 21, 2019 6:03:00 AM

What Are Internal SMS Audits in Aviation, and Why Conduct Them

Internal SMS audits are an extremely important element in verifying the performance of every aviation safety management system (SMS). They’re also a neglected process in a surprisingly large number of smaller operators' SMS risk management schedule.

Just ask yourself, when was the last time you performed an internal audit on your aviation SMS implementation? Let’s also be clear about what we mean when we say “audit”, as this word is thrown around loosely. An internal audit:

  • Is not a regular review process (as in, reviewing previously managed safety issues);
  • Is a specific type of activity that aviation service providers will perform once or twice a year; and
  • Is a best practice for external audit preparation, such as an impending audit from an oversight agency.
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Topics: Quality-Safety Management

What Emergency Response Plans Are (and Why You Need It)

Posted by Tyler Britton on Nov 14, 2019 5:50:00 AM

What an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) Is

The actions taken within the first 5 minutes of an emergency can largely dictate the severity of consequences. In this case, “severity of consequences” can involve catastrophic financial, environmental, or material damage, and/or major loss of life.

Employees need a plan of action to count on when emergencies strike in order to minimize damages.

An emergency response plan is a manual that companies use to address many different types of emergency situations. The manuals include:

  • Who to contact;
  • How to act; and
  • Resources to use.
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Topics: Quality-Safety Management

4 Considerations About QMS and SMS in Aviation Safety Management

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 26, 2019 5:56:00 AM

Making Decisions about QMS and SMS in Aviation Safety Management

Recently, there has been a significant rise in the interest of reducing data management complexity and increasing synergies by integrating quality management systems (QMS) and safety management systems (SMS) in the aviation industry. This is probably because many aviation service providers have already begun or have well developed SMS implementations.

Alternatively, the interest may result from the overwhelming number of data management systems that modern aviation service providers use to manage operations. Operators recognize that aviation SMS compliance is dependent on the collection, storage and retrieval of SMS data that spans many years. In many cases, operational quality data will intersect SMS data, thereby causing management to realize that there may be some opportunities to improve operational efficiency and reduce data management burdens.

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Topics: Quality-Safety 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.

SMS Pro Fulfills SRM & SA Compliance Requirement

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

How Integrating QMS and SMS Will Improve Aviation Safety Audit Performance

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 5, 2019 6:01:00 AM

Benefits of Integrating QMS and SMS

Historically, quality management systems (QMS) and safety management systems (SMS) have been implemented and managed as two entirely separate entities. Today this separation persists in many, if not most, companies. This is an unfortunate fact because integrating QMS and SMS provides a great opportunity for organizations to:

  • Improve safety performance;
  • Increase aviation safety audit results;
  • Reduce bureaucratic bloat; and
  • Cut overhead costs, while at the same time expanding safety budget.
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Topics: Quality-Safety Management

How to Investigate Safety Issues

Posted by Tyler Britton on Feb 18, 2019 4:59:00 AM

Different Investigator Activities on Safety Issues

Managing safety issues in aviation SMS is largely about performing various investigatory activities in order to make good safety decisions. Investigatory activities are usually conducted by:

  • Safety managers;
  • Department heads;
  • Subject matter experts; and/or
  • Safety committees.
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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance, Quality-Safety Management

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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