SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

20 Questions for Your Safety Risk Management Process in Aviation SMS [With Free Checklists]

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 31, 2018 4:54:00 AM

What Is Safety Risk Management Process

20 Questions for Your Safety Risk Management Process in Aviation SMS

The Safety Risk Management process (SRM) is where you outline and document your entire operational risk profile. Completing your SRM process is a major part of Phase 3 of SMS implementation.

Once you complete the initial documentation of your SRM process, you will need to continuously update it as new “inputs” are identified or implemented in your SMS, such as:

  1. New hazards;
  2. New risks;
  3. New risk controls;
  4. New policies/procedures;
  5. New regulations;
  6. And so on.

In this article, we have provided several questions you need to ask about your SRM process. In some cases, we have provided examples to clarify the questions, such as in the format listed below:

  1. SRM question A
    • Example 1 for question A
    • Example 2 for question A
  2. SRM question B
    • Example 1 for question B
    • Example 2 for question B

Download aviation safety risk management checklist

Questions for Completion of SMS Safety Systems

Systems in your SMS are an integral part of your Safety Risk Management process. Systems are your organization's important safety factors into logical groups, usually based on the type of operation.

For example, if your operations cover both Ground Ops and Flight Ops, it makes sense for each operation to be its own system. This way you can manage safety factors and resources that are relevant to each system.

  1. Have you identified different systems in your company?
    • Flight ops
    • Ground ops
    • Maintenance
  2. Have you described the purpose, function, and context of each system?
  3. Have you identified the critical processes for each system?
    • Process for monitoring the effectiveness of risk controls
    • Process for communicating safety information
    • Process for practicing continuous improvement
  4. Have you identified the procedure for updating your operational risk profile as your SMS changes?
  5. Does each system have an identified manager responsible for reviewing the system?

Related Articles on Aviation SMS Documentation

Questions for Acceptable Level of Safety

Risk matrix

Acceptable Level of Safety (ALoS) is the level of risk your company is willing to “take on” or “tolerate” for any given safety issue. How you define ALoS will have wide-ranging implications for how you manage safety issues.

  1. Have you identified the size and color scheme on your risk matrix?
    1. 4x4 grid, 5x5 grid, or 6x6 grid (5x5 is standard)
    2. Green, Yellow, Red (this is standard color scheme)
    3. Green, Yellow, Orange, Red
  2. Have you defined and documented each level of Severity on your risk matrix?
    1. Financial damage that defines each level of severity
    2. Human damage that defines each level of severity (i.e., minor injury, loss of life, multiple loss of life, etc.)
    3. Operational damage that defines each level of severity
  3. Have you defined and documented each level of Likelihood on your risk matrix?
    1. Likelihood based on frequency of occurrence (i.e., 1/1000 operations)
    2. Likelihood based on approximate chances of happening (i.e., “Has happened before in company,”)
  4. Have you documented what risk assessments on the matrix are considered “acceptable”?
  5. Have you provided further documentation guidance that department heads and other assessors can use the matrix?

Related Articles on Acceptable Level of Safety in Aviation SMS

Survey Questions for Operational Safety Factors

Many operational factors affect safety, namely hazards, risks, root causes, and analysis of these factors. Here are the questions you should be concerned with regarding your SRM process.

  1. Have you documented all identified hazards in your company?
  2. Have you performed hazard analysis on each hazard, and documented the analysis activities?
  3. Have you documented all identified relevant safety concerns (risks) for each hazard?
  4. Have you performed a risk assessment on each safety concern?
  5. Have you documented any other relevant factors, such as root causes for each hazard?

Survey Questions for Operational Safety Resource

To mitigate your operational safety factors, you need to provide operational safety resources, such as risk controls and other guidance. Here are the important questions:

  1. Have you documented all risk controls in your organization?
  2. Have you assigned relevant risk controls to each hazard?
  3. Have you documented all relevant policies, procedures, and checklists in each system?
  4. Have you documented all hazardous sources and behaviors that affect safety in each system?
  5. Have you provided any other relevant safety provisions that are highly relevant to employee ability to mitigate risk?

Related Aviation SMS Operational Safety Articles

Resources for getting aviation safety management system started

Last updated December 2023.

Topics: 2-Safety Risk 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.



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