SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

Non-Essential but Important Roles in Aviation SMS Software

Posted by Tyler Britton on Nov 23, 2018 5:17:00 AM

What Are Roles in Aviation Safety Management Systems

Non-Essential but Important Roles in Aviation SMS Software

Aviation SMS roles are used to organize different responsibilities in your aviation safety program. Each role in your SMS will have separate responsibilities. SMS roles are assigned to each of your employees.

You should develop roles at the very beginning of starting an SMS. Roles provide significant benefits by helping you:

  • Define expectations of different types of employees;
  • Guide employees for what is expected of them in the SMS; and
  • Control access to information.

Once defined and established, roles should be:

  • Mapped out in your safety org chart;
  • Included in your safety policy; and
  • Assigned to each employee in your company.

Employees may have more than one role if they fulfill more than one set of duties in your organization, such as having the Confidential Manager role and the Safety Manager role.

Essential and Important Roles in Aviation Safety Management

Essential roles that you will see in every aviation service provider’s aviation SMS are:

  • Accountable Executive role;
  • Safety Manager role;
  • SMS User role;
  • Confidential Manager role;
  • Data Entry role; and
  • Subject-Matter Expert role (usually called Department Head role).

Important roles you are likely to see in nearly every safety management system include:

  • Investigation Team role;
  • Safety Team role;
  • Vendor role; and
  • Safety Committee role.

Related Aviation Safety Management Articles

Investigation Team Role in Aviation SMS

Every SMS will need to perform safety investigations on some reported safety issues. Depending on the size of the organization, it’s extremely useful to designate a role that is responsible for assisting in these investigations. This role has the following characteristics:

  • Held by a trusted employee or someone on the safety team;
  • Assists safety managers/department heads in performing internal investigations on
    • Issues
    • Safety inspections

People in this role should have good people skills as they will be interacting with employees while conducting investigations. They should also have good analytical skills to use during investigations.

Safety Team Role in Aviation SMS

Safety investigations on safety issues

Nearly every aviation service provider benefits from having a safety team. Only very small organizations probably don’t need a safety team. Employees in a safety team may have other duties in small organizations. In large organizations, they may be dedicated safety team employees.

The purpose of this role is to assist the safety manager in safety efforts, such as:

A safety team member will have other roles that are particular to an organization, depending on the responsibilities laid out by the organization.

Vendor Role in Aviation SMS

Organizations will collaborate with third parties, such as vendors. These vendors, while not directly part of your organization, affect safety in your operations. They should interact with your SMS, and providing them with a defined role is useful because:

  • Allows you to monitor vendor interactions with your SMS;
  • Easily communicate your expectations of vendor involvement in your SMS; and
  • Document employees vs vendors.

By assigning a collaborative vendor role, you can designate specific responsibilities required by your organization.

Safety Committee Role in Aviation SMS

Many aviation service providers use safety committees to do things like:

  • Assess safety issues;
  • Review safety issues;
  • Create corrective actions; and
  • Manage certain types of issues.

A safety committee role allows you to create groups of employees who are responsible for carrying out committee actions.

Final Thought: Industry Specific Roles

Industry specific roles should also be included in your role configuration. For example, an airline might also include roles such as:

  • Pilot;
  • Ground crew;
  • Maintenance; or
  • Air Traffic Control.

Each type of industry will have different types of additional roles.

Resources for getting aviation safety management system started

Last updated in January 2024.

Topics: Aviation SMS Implementation

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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