SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

Safety Chart: How Effective Is Hazard Identification Training in Aviation SMS?

Posted by Tyler Britton on Mar 10, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Aviation SMS New Employee Integration Time

Safety Chart: How Effective Is Hazard Identification Training in Aviation SMS?

The oil industry, which in terms of safety standards is rather similar to the aviation industry, provides a great example with its statistic that over 50% of all accidents are caused by employees with less than 1 year of experience in their current work environment.

When airlines, airports, and other aviation service providers hire new employees, those employees pose a significant risk so long as they are unfamiliar with their new:

  • Environment;
  • Duties;
  • Expectations; and
  • Social dynamics.

Management’s safety training procedures and the safety culture of the work environment play a critical role in how quickly new employees adjust to participating in the aviation safety management system (SMS). Two months of extremely effective training in an SMS with a healthy safety culture can accomplish what an inefficient, immature aviation SMS would in an entire year.

The important point is that safety managers need to know how quickly employees are being integrated into their aviation SMS and how quickly they begin to participate in the most important way possible. This is the business question that a risk management dashboard chart can answer. We will describe in detail the "Average Days to First Hazard Identification" chart.

This chart shows us:

  • The average of how many days from
    • date that new employees completed their aviation SMS and hazard identification training to
    • submitting their first hazard report;
  • The number of new employees who have reported safety hazards; and
  • The percent of new employees who have reported safety issues to new employees who have not reported.

Related Aviation SMS Performance Monitoring Charts

Safety Performance Monitoring Workflow for Aviation SMS

Reveals Quality of Safety Training & Reporting Culture

Aviation SMS Chart New Employee Integration

This performance monitoring chart gives safety managers some very useful information about how quickly employees are integrated into their aviation SMS. There may be other ways to determine whether users are participating in the SMS, such as responding to safety communications, such as

  • safety newsletters;
  • safety messages (read files).

So while this chart in question is not the definitive answer for determining who is actively participating in the SMS, there can be no doubt that tracking safety reporting activity is an excellent indicator of "somebody motivated to perform."

First off, let’s look at the average number of days from completing SMS and hazard identification training to the first reported safety issue.

The lower the number of average days the better that the SMS is integrating new employees into the safety culture. When employees start reporting quickly, it demonstrates that they are:

  • Actively identifying hazards;
  • Accept management's protections against retaliation; and
  • Comfortable with SMS' procedures.

Of course, this number in and of itself is incomplete, because it relies on employees who have already submitted safety issues. If the average training/reporting days are 2, but only 20% of new employees have reported a safety concern, then the safety training and safety culture are clearly much less effective.

When taken together, this chart indicates the initial risk that aviation SMS takes on when they hire new employees. If the average/training/reporting days and percent of reporting are both good, then the training and safety culture is effective, and thus the risk of hiring new employees is lower.

Related Aviation SMS Performance Monitoring Charts

What Safety Managers Need to Keep an Eye On

Both the average training/reporting days and percent of reporters need to be taken in conjunction. The thing all safety managers should be looking for is a high percentage of reporters and a low average number of days. This indicates:

  • Effective aviation safety training;
  • Clear procedures; and
  • A positive safety culture.

If the percentage of reporters is low or the average days until the first report is high, then this should raise a red flag. It indicates that the aviation SMS':

  • Reporting procedures are not clear, accessible, or easy to follow;
  • Safety training did not set clear expectations;
  • Employees don't learn what is a hazard, risk, and risk control; and/or
  • The safety culture in the SMS does not have a healthy safety reporting culture.

Knowing how quickly new employees are comfortable enough to start identifying and reporting safety concerns needs to be identified as a concern of safety managers.

Take Safety Culture

Where Does This Data Come From?

This data, which is stored in an aviation SMS database program, will always take into account 3 things when filtering the data:

  • Each user’s date of safety training completion;
  • Date of each user's first reported safety issue; and
  • Total number of users who have completed safety training.

Based on this data safety managers, or an aviation SMS software, will:

  • Divide the number of employees who have reported a safety issue by the total number of employees to get the “% Reported” metric;
  • Add up the total number of days between training completion and issue reporting, and divide it by the number of users who have submitted a report to get the “Average Days” metric.

Related Aviation SMS Performance Monitoring Charts

How Does This Chart Relate to Safety Requirements?

Aviation SMS Chart New Employee Integration

One of the primary responsibilities that aviation SMS oversight agencies put onto service providers and carriers is that they fully implement their SMS through the 4 phases of aviation SMS implementation.

Mature aviation SMS with

  • well-tested policies and procedures,
  • quality safety reporting culture, and
  • effective aviation safety training tools

should see an extremely high percentage of users who have reported their first issue as well a very low number of average days between training and reporting.

Garnering evidence for the following makes a strong case for completing important elements of phase 3 and phase 4 implementation requirements:

  • Having strong aviation safety training tools;
  • A good reporting culture; and
  • Solid, repeatable safety procedures.

This chart effectively demonstrates operational safety assurance at its finest. On the contrary, it could also indicate a stagnant, paper SMS. Obvious indications such as this chart would belie are not needed for managers who already understand their safety culture. When a safety culture is bad, the safety manager needs no chart like this slapping him in the face. When this report tells safety teams that their safety reporting culture needs serious work, then I recommend that you get the accountable executive immediately involved.

The accountable executive may already know that the safety reporting culture is abysmal, but when there is a report staring him in the face, this report will carry more weight than the "sneaking suspicion" that is not validated by cold hard numbers.

Don't fret if your numbers are in the toilet. There is hope. First, as I said, I'd notify the accountable executive. The mitigation plan would cover some of these points:

  1. Review safety policy. When was it last communicated to employees? Do employees buy into the SMS? Obviously not?
  2. Conduct a safety culture survey. Learn whether employees trust the safety reporting process and the subsequent risk management processes during investigations.
  3. Review hazard identification training. Ask employees for feedback as to whether they believe it to be effective.
  4. Review safety reporting tools and processes. Can employees submit safety reports easily? By email? Is the electronic safety reporting system in use? Mobile-friendly reporting available to employees, customers, and contractors?
  5. Safety promotion activity. How often? What media? Ask employees for feedback to learn whether they read them and how to make them more effective.

Related Aviation SMS Performance Monitoring Charts

Who Should Care About This Chart

Because of the ability to judge the effectiveness of SMS and hazard identification training, the "Average Days to First Hazard Identification" chart should be of great concern to:

  • The accountable executive;
  • Aviation safety managers;
  • SMS training department; and
  • The employees who are actively participating in the SMS.

The front-line employees in the SMS that feature healthy numbers for this chart should be congratulated for the positive effects their safety habits have on new employees. Likewise, safety management should be satisfied that their training and reporting tools are effective.

Download hazard reporting system checklist for aviation SMS

Final Thought: Related Charts

An SMS performance monitoring dashboard report that relates extremely closely to the Average Days to First Hazard Identification chart is the Not Inducted Users safety chart.

This Not Inducted Users chart shows a list of employees who have not completed their mandatory SMS training requirements. Well, more accurately, this report shows users whose SMS training documentation is not in the system. In the case of SMS Pro, there is automated SMS training management. New employees can be trained in SMS and hazard identification as they become "inducted" into the SMS. "SMS Induction" seems to be an appropriate and universally acceptable term for bringing new employees into the SMS.

When safety managers are reviewing data for the Average Days to First Hazard Identification chart in order to assess the effectiveness of training, they may also want to factor in how many employees are still currently completing training requirements. For those employees, safety managers may also want to assess:

  • How long those employees have been undergoing “training”; and
  • How active those employees are supposed to be in the SMS.

Taking both charts together will give safety management teams an even more clarified idea of their safety reporting culture and SMS training effectiveness.

To see these charts live, ask us for a live demo.

Download SMS Implementation Checklist

Alternatively, you may be interested in watching demo videos with these SMS performance monitoring dashboard charts.

Watch SMS Pro Demo Videos

Last updated November 2023.

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.



Benefits of SMS Pro Database

Affordable, Basic Compliance for Small Aviation Service Providers

Best Practices for Aviation SMS


Watch SMS Pro Demo Videos

These two on-demand videos offer:

  • High-level overview of SMS Pro;
  • Hazard Reporting & Risk Management walk-through.
Watch SMS Pro Demo Videos

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts