ICAO SMS - Make Sure You Are Safe With These Tools By Brian Bowie Manual Masters LLC Do you need a SMS manual or training program?Get your SMS manual or training within one weekat a cheaper price at www.themanualmasters.com
One aspect of a well designed SMS program is safety assurance.Safety risk management is only half of the battle when it comesto a well run safety management system. The reason is becauseonce you have identified your hazards, analyzed the risk andcontrolled them to an acceptable level, you will need to ensurethey are working properly. If you do not monitor your system’soperations and processes, your system will likely drift back toan area of unacceptable risk. Over time you will likely have anaccident or incident. This is where safety assurance comes in.Safety assurance will identify processes and procedures thatare not working as planned leading to an unacceptable level ofrisk. Safety assurance will also identify non-compliance withprocesses and procedures. This non-compliance will increaseyour risk factor as well. There are many tools the safetymanager can use to identify both of these issues with your SMSprogram. Let’s briefly discuss a few of the SMS tools available.The first tool is continuous monitoring of the system. The safetymanager will ensure that the system is being continuouslymonitored for potential safety issues and hazards. The mainway to do this is to monitor and analyze operational data. Someof the items that can be monitored are things like flight logs,maintenance logs, crew duty reports, unusual occurrencereports, time cards, process sheets and reports from theemployee feedback system.
The next tool is internal audits by operational departments. Thesafety manager should develop an audit procedure that will becarried out by line managers from time to time. The reason forline managers to complete this audit is that they have firsthandknowledge of the specific processes and procedures involved.This firsthand knowledge will make it easier for them to spot asafety issue. An outsider without any specific knowledge of thesystem will not be as likely to notice some safety issues.The third tool is and internal evaluation. The safety managershould design an internal evaluation to evaluate the operationsto ensure that it conforms to SMS objectives and expectations.These evaluations should be completed at specific intervals andcompleted by specific individuals that are trained to completethese evaluations. Unlike the internal evaluations byoperational departments, these evaluations need be conductedby someone that is independent of the process beingevaluated. This provides a double check of the system. Youhave an insider with specific knowledge checking the systemand then you also have an outsider checking the system as wellto ensure that every possible safety issue is found andaddressed.
The fourth tool is external audits of the safety managementsystem. This could be a formal external audit by an auditcompany or just the FAA when they come into evaluate theoperation.The fifth tool is investigation. All incidents and accidents shouldbe investigate not only as to the root cause but also as to howthe system can be enhanced to prevent similar issues in thefuture. Also any reports of non-compliance with processes andprocedures (including regulatory non-compliance should alsobe investigated) and analyzed as well.The sixth tool is one of the most important tools. This tool is theemployee reporting and feedback system. The safety managerneeds to design an system to allow employees to report anysafety issues or hazards that they notice. The safety managerthen needs to promote this system so that the employees feelcomfortable making reports and that they will not be punishedin any way for making these hazard reports.Safety assurance is a very important process in the SMS loop.Without it, the loop will be broken and the operation will driftoff into an area of unacceptable risk. The good news is thatthere are many simple tools to help ensure your SMS programis meeting its objectives and expectations.