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Safety Chart: Aviation SMS Program Task Management

Posted by Tyler Britton on Oct 26, 2022 6:11:00 AM

What Is Task Management in Aviation Risk Management

Safety Chart: Aviation SMS Program Task Management

Task management in every aviation safety management system (SMS) is extremely important. After all, the accountable executive will be monitoring SMS performance regularly and will be alert for substandard safety performance.

How quickly are safety tasks completed?

How many safety tasks are overdue? And for how many days? And why are these safety tasks overdue?

Every employee needs to stay on top of corrective actions and preventive actions to ensure that nothing “falls through the cracks.”

When you are not actively monitoring items that are assigned to you, it’s all too easy to simply overlook them. To quote Orwell, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

The most important tasks in the aviation SMS are:

  • Reported safety issues that require managing;
  • Corrective actions and preventative actions that require us to fulfill a task in order to mitigate safety issues; and
  • Upcoming safety meetings that may require preparation; and
  • Upcoming aviation SMS audits that may require preparation.

The other reality about task management in aviation SMS is that employees, department heads, and safety managers have many other duties and responsibilities besides the above points. Task management is the ability to successfully prioritize these items with all of the other required duties. This is the purpose of this SMS dashboard chart at the right.

Related Aviation SMS Performance Monitoring Charts

Importance of Task Management Chart in Aviation SMS

Many people aren’t adept at task management. For many of us, it is a real struggle. For people who do struggle with it, using a list that includes only the most pressing concerns is an extremely useful aid in keeping them on track.

For example, consider a front-line employee whose day-to-day activities involve manual labor such as baggage handling. Safety tasks might seem like negligible pieces of extra work to do on top of the rigor of their daily responsibilities. Having a safety task list that does the following will help keep those safety tasks at the forefront of such employees' minds:

  • Lists required items and show the item type (safety issue, meeting, etc.);
  • Shows assigned dates; and
  • Shows due dates.

Showing assigned dates gives employees a reference point for how long an item has been sitting on their “to take care of” list. Seeing due dates gives safety incentives for employees to take care of items on time.

Moreover, seeing the type of task helps you mentally organize items into your daily work routine.

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What This Chart Reveals About Your Aviation Risk Management Efficiency

Aviation SMS Program task management safety chart

Aviation risk management isn’t simply practiced by safety management personnel. Risk management is an employee’s ability to manage risk within the limits of their assigned duties and responsibilities. For front-line employees, risk management will largely involve hazard identification and issue reporting.

However, front-line employees are also responsible for task-oriented items, such as attending meetings and completing assigned corrective actions and preventive actions required to mitigate reported safety concerns. Safety managers' risk management responsibilities will largely be task based.

Through this safety chart, any employee can learn how well they are taking care of their assigned risk management responsibilities that are logged in your organization's SMS database. Three likely scenarios look like this:

  1. Items assigned dates are fairly recent and/or your list usually remains fairly short;
  2. Some items’ assigned dates are fairly old and/or an item or two is overdue; or
  3. Your list of items is fairly long and several items are overdue.

Each of the points demonstrates a range of risk management efficiency. The more trouble you have with task management, the more resolutely you should pay attention to this safety chart that is visible in the SMS performance monitoring dashboard.

Related Aviation SMS Performance Monitoring Charts

How Is This Safety Chart Created?

This safety chart is created through the use of an aviation safety database. It is most likely you arrived at this article from your SMS performance monitoring dashboard in SMS Pro. Most dashboard charts in SMS Pro have a link from the chart to the respective article that describes the business logic behind the performance monitoring chart.

While some safety charts can be created easily with programs that use manual spreadsheets or point solutions (different aviation safety databases for different activities), creating this is simply impossible without one of the following:

  • All assigned items are written down as they are assigned; or
  • You have an integrated aviation safety database that can track all types of important assigned safety tasks.

This chart/list is created by retrieving from the SMS database all of a user's assigned safety tasks in the SMS, including

  • safety issues,
  • corrective actions and preventive actions (CPAs),
  • safety meetings; and
  • safety audits.

Hazard/Issue Reporting Poster

How Relates to Aviation SMS Program Requirements?

Each aviation SMS is tasked with having an operational SMS, and not simply an SMS on paper. Having safety charts like this, which tracks:

  • That safety issues are actually being managed;
  • That employees are actually completing CPA tasks; and
  • That the SMS is actually operating (such as via the safety management system software).

An aviation SMS that is non-functional, and only exists as a showpiece, will feature assigned items charts that are mostly blank. In most cases, these shoddy SMS implementations will not even have the capability to easily track one's assigned tasks.

Related Aviation SMS Performance Monitoring Charts

Final Thought: Other Related Charts

Aviation SMS Program task management safety chart

The accountable executive is responsible for ensuring the aviation SMS is properly implemented and performing in all areas of the organization. In order to determine the level of SMS performance, SMS documentation from the organization's risk management activities will be collected and presented to the accountable executive.

The accountable executive is responsible for reviewing organizational safety performance on a regular basis. SMS performance is usually measured by certain milestones and by reviewing organizational safety goals and objectives. Whenever safety goals and objectives are not being met, the accountable executive is in charge of directing necessary actions to mitigate the substandard safety performance.

Assigned task charts like the one presented at the right allow individual employees to monitor their own performance. The SMS database will then aggregate individual safety performance to generate reports of organizational safety performance. This chart serves as a reminder for employees of their assigned tasks.

A couple of similar charts that provide further aviation risk management insights are:

For more resources about improving aviation risk management efficiency, you will find these workflows helpful.

Download Risk Management Procedural Workflows

Workflows are important to document your SMS program.

Download Free Aviation SMS Workflows

Last updated February 2024.

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.



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