SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

Christopher Howell

Manage global operations for aviation safety management systems (SMS) software that facilitates regulatory compliance, such as ICAO, FAA, Transport Canada, IS-BAO. Manage software engineering support efforts to local Alaska businesses. Assist in design, implementation, testing and documentation of complex, three-tier Windows applications relying heavily upon secure Web services technology.
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Recent Posts

Checklist for Proactive Safety Culture in Aviation SMS [With Free Resources]

Posted by Christopher Howell on Mar 16, 2020 5:46:00 AM

What Is Proactive Safety Culture in Aviation SMS

The purpose of an aviation safety management system (SMS) is to formally manage operational safety risk to as low as reasonably practical (ALARP). This objective will never be fully achieved unless aviation service providers maintain healthy safety reporting numbers.

In order to optimize safety reporting metrics, an operator must have a safety culture that continually promotes safety and encourages employees to report every potential safety issue, whether the issue is real or imagined. The rule of thumb should be "report everything and let the safety team determine the level of safety risk."

"Proactive safety culture" in aviation SMS simply denotes an operational environment whose employees and resources actively act upon likely safety concerns that have been identified and reported for risk management review.

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Topics: Quality-Safety Management

How to Create Aviation SMS Implementation Plan - with Templates

Posted by Christopher Howell on Feb 19, 2020 5:16:00 AM

What You Need to Know about Aviation SMS Implementation Plans

If you are reading this, chances are you have just begun implementing your aviation safety management systems (SMS). Or, you would like to see how your implementation plan stacks up against the suggested process for creating an implementation plan.

Either way, the important things you need to know about aviation SMS implementation plans are that they:

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Topics: Aviation SMS Implementation

How to Demonstrate Continuous Improvement in Aviation SMS

Posted by Christopher Howell on Dec 16, 2019 6:15:00 AM

What Is Continuous Improvement in Aviation SMS

The purpose of aviation safety management systems (SMS) is to ensure aviation service providers have a structured, formal process to manage safety, thereby reducing risk to the "transportation system."

Aviation SMS implementations are designed to continuously improve safety performance by:

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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

What Is Safety Culture in Aviation Risk Management

Posted by Christopher Howell on Nov 26, 2019 6:01:00 AM

Definition of Safety Culture in Aviation Risk Management

Safety culture in aviation safety management systems (SMS) is usually defined as being the safety attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and values of employees in an organization. Unfortunately, such a high-level, conceptual definition of safety culture does not help safety manager address core personnel challenges in your organization's SMS.

In much of the SMS guidance material pushed out by regulatory agencies and standards setting bodies, such as ICAO's document 9859 Safety Management Manual, we see condensed definitions of "what is safety culture" with a very, easy-to-understand phrase: "employees actions regarding safety when nobody is watching." I find this definition enlightening, but still too generic. How do safety managers measure safety culture or affect the safety culture in their organization? We need more information in this definition in order to be useful to SMS practitioners.

Another way to approach the question, what is safety culture, is to break it into multiple definitions based on how it works in safety management systems.

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Topics: 4-Safety Promotion, Safety Culture

6 Benefits of Cloud-Based Aviation SMS Data Strategy

Posted by Christopher Howell on Nov 18, 2019 6:01:00 AM

Cloud-Based Aviation SMS May Make Sound Business Sense

Have you been considering the risks of moving your aviation safety management system (SMS) up to the cloud? In the past ten years, many aviation service providers have been moving their SMS data to the cloud for various reasons, but most make sound economic and business sense.

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Topics: Risk Management Software

4 Pillars | 10 Things You Need to Know about Aviation Safety Training

Posted by Christopher Howell on Nov 13, 2019 6:01:00 AM

What Is Safety Training and Education?

Aviation safety training and education is an essential building block for safety culture. Safety culture is understandably important for aviation service providers that are investing in aviation safety management systems (SMS). Without a healthy safety culture, the SMS will never deliver the expected results and moneys will be wasted.

Accountable executives and safety teams must consider whether poor performance of their aviation SMS is a result of lack of training, or a deeper, more sinister safety culture issue.

Safety training can make or break the successful performance of aviation SMS for:

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Topics: 4-Safety Promotion

4 Pillars | Truth about SMS Continuous Improvement and KPIs - with Free KPI Resources

Posted by Christopher Howell on Nov 11, 2019 5:49:00 AM

What REALLY Is Continuous Improvement in Aviation SMS?

The objectives of every aviation safety management system (SMS) is to:

  • Proactively manage safety in a formal, structured manner;
  • Identify potential operational hazards;
  • Determine risk to operations and affected stakeholders; and
  • Implement control measures to mitigate identified risk.

From a regulator's perspective, they are primarily interested in:

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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

How to Trend Safety Culture Using Safety Reporting System

Posted by Christopher Howell on Sep 25, 2019 6:17:00 AM

Aviation SMS Success Dependent on Safety Culture

Whether safety professionals or upper management like it or not, a successful aviation safety management system (SMS) is dependent on safety culture. This fact hold true for every aviation industry segment, including:

  • airlines;
  • airports;
  • maintenance organizations, etc.

Your company can have the best risk management processes and the most expensive aviation SMS database, but when your safety culture does not support the organization's SMS initiative, your company will never realize the full benefits of an aviation SMS. Furthermore, risk is not being managed properly.

Does this bear repeating? Unless you have a positive, trusting safety culture, you will be wasting a significant portion of your SMS investment. Money will be left laying on the table and management will miss out on the promised benefits of the aviation SMS.

With this in mind, how do you know whether your safety culture is either improving or in a slowly imperceptible decline?

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Topics: Safety Culture

How to Engage Difficult Employees in Aviation SMS

Posted by Christopher Howell on Sep 23, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Reporting Safety Hazards Is Not Enough?

For most aviation service providers, the simple act of getting employees to report potential safety hazards is a constant challenge.

Expectations of the majority of employees are:

  • Showing up to work (on-time in some cultures);
  • Collecting the paycheck (on-time is preferable); and
  • Expecting employers to provide a safe workplace.

However, every employee has a responsibility to ensure operations remain safe for all stakeholders.

Is hazard identification and hazard reporting enough to ask from employees as they participate in your organization's safety initiatives?

What else should employees be doing for your required aviation safety management system (SMS)?

Without the support of all employees, the aviation SMS will never reach its full potential. Money will be left on the table - meaning that every successful SMS is dependent on safety culture and employee participation. 

The raw ingredients in an aviation SMS come predominantly from safety reporting and audit activities. Employees are instrumental for providing these inputs by participating in effective safety reporting activities. Without employee participation, the organization can still have an SMS; however, the organization will never benefit fully from reduced risk and missed opportunities.

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Topics: 4-Safety Promotion

Moving from Quality Management to Integrated SMS and QMS Systems

Posted by Christopher Howell on Sep 9, 2019 6:04:00 AM

Auditing Compels Operators to Adopt Better Aviation SMS

Aviation quality and compliance auditors use auditing software to measure compliance and to track corrective actions. IATA's IOSA program is a very good program to steer airlines toward an ICAO compliant safety management systems (SMS).

Quality, safety, and environmental management systems share many common elements and requirements. In fact, requirements for safety management systems have evolved from the quality management systems (QMS).

Looking at the two systems, one cannot but agree that SMS didn't evolve independently, but the framework was modeled after quality management systems.

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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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