Safety Management Systems (SMS) Fundamentals: Framework Guidance


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  • In the previous parts of the presentation, we discussed the SMS Framework and each of the four Components of SMS: Policy, Safety Risk Management, Safety Assurance, Safety Promotion.
    Now we’ll take a very high level look at the SMS guidance, tools and implementation strategy developed by Flight Standards.
  • Your have seen this diagram before, the 4 components in both the ICAO and FAA Safety Management System Framework. The ICAO SMS Framework is found in the Safety Management Manual (SMM), ICAO Doc 9859, Appendix 7. The FAA SMS Framework is in Appendix 1 of AC 120-92.
    The Policy Component defines top management’s objectives and requirements and provides for procedures and controls for their implementation. It is broken down into 5 elements in both the ICAO and FAA Frameworks
    The safety risk management and safety assurance components, are the primary functional components of the SMS. Notice that in the Safety Risk Management component, shown here, the two elements are the same for the ICAO and FAA Framework, however the FAA Framework has expanded both elements into “Processes”, for ease of use by service providers and their oversight organizations..
    The safety assurance component, the other primary functional component, has also been expanded for ease of use. The three elements are the same for ICAO and FAA while the FAA Framework has ten “Processes” within the elements.
    The safety promotion component provides competencies, training and communication pieces that support a sound safety culture. The safety culture of the organization is part of the environment that surrounds the entire safety management effort.
  • If you do a Google search on SMS, you will receive over a billion, that’s with a B, returns and they include such things as “Short Message Service”, “Systems Management Server”, and the like. To help sort out what is essential to implement and oversee in an SMS, we are providing this “cheat sheet”, a summary of the significant foundational documents applicable to SMS We also provide a “Read-Me-First” document that provides these and a few more working references plus short descriptions of each document.
    This graphic shows a good compilation of the most significant SMS related documents ranging from ICAO to the various divisions of the FAA.
    The red font documents will be the most often used while the others are great source references. Also AC 120-92A, published in August, 2010, incorporates the FAA SMS Framework at Appendix 1.
  • The FAA provides an SMS web presence at This public site has links to all the SMS related information documents you have just seen. FAA Inspectors have access to another Intranet site, which has the same documents. Both web site addresses are in the Read-Me-First document for easy reference.
    From the public web site, it will be necessary to drill-down on specific information by industry type on the left side, next to the last link.
  • These are where the Flight Standards SMS guidance documents, tools and information are available for the Public, as well as the FAA workforce. The link to the Read-Me-First document in right on top.
  • Initial SMS implementation strategy follows a four phased process similar to that outlined in the ICAO Safety Management Manual (SMM). ICAO, as well as other governments, including the United States, implementing SMS requirements favor a phased implementation process. The FAA SMS Implementation guide closely parallels the ICAO recommended phased implementation process outlined in ICAO Document 9859.
  • This is a quick overview of the SMS implementation steps:
    Implementation Level One is a time for the service provider to research information, evaluate corporate goals and objectives and determine the viability of committing resources to an SMS implementation effort. Level 1 officially begins when a service provider’s top management provides documents committing the resources necessary for full implementation of SMS through out their organization.
    Face-to face informational meetings between the service provider, responsible FAA CMT and the SMS PO are conducted at level one. Additionally, a Preliminary and Detailed Gap Analysis and a detailed Implementation Plan are developed. While no actual developmental activities are expected during level one, beyond four items listed in the SMS Framework, the service provider organizes resources, assigns responsibilities, sets schedules and defines objectives necessary to implement an SMS.
    Implementation Level Two: Reactive Processes, Basic Risk Management. At level two, the service provider develops and implements a basic SRM process and plans, organizes and prepares the organization for further SMS development. Information acquisition, processing, and analysis functions are implemented and a tracking system for risk control and corrective actions are established.
    At this phase, the service provider corrects known deficiencies in safety management practices and operational processes and develops an awareness of hazards and responds with appropriate systematic application of preventative or corrective actions. This allows the service provider to react to unwanted events and problems as they occur and develop appropriate remedial action.
    Implementation Level Three: Proactive Processes. Component 2.0 of the SMS Framework expects SRM to be applied to initial design of systems, the development of new operational procedures, and planned changes to operational processes. The SRM process developed at level two is now used to analyze, document, and track future activities. Because the service provider is now using the processes to look ahead, this level is termed “proactive”. At this level the service provider is considered to have a fully-functioning SMS, however their performance has not yet been proven.
    Implementation Level Four: Continuous Improvement. The final level of SMS maturity is the continuous improvement level. Processes have been in place and their performance and effectiveness have been verified over time. The complete Safety Assurance process, including continuous monitoring and the remaining features of the other SRM and SA processes are functioning. The SMS will maintain this continuous improvement status for the life of the organization.
    The SMS Implementation Guide and later AC 120-92 and FAA Order 8900.1 will contain specific criteria to validate attainment of these levels and advancement out of each step and into the next. These criteria will then be continuously monitored by the FAA as part of the oversight process.
  • As we pointed out at the beginning of this briefing, the Wright brothers recognized the need for risk management. This quote from Wilbur Wright, written two years before the famous powered flight on December 17, 1903 exemplifies the Wrights’ attitude. It is clear that their attitude toward risk management was a key element in their ultimate success. If you need further assistance please contact the SMS program office at the number listed above
  • Safety Management Systems (SMS) Fundamentals: Framework Guidance

    1. 1. Federal Aviation Administration SMS Framework and Guidance Federal Aviation Administration SL-1
    2. 2. ICAO and FAA SMS Framework Policy (Structure) Safety Risk Management Safety Assurance Safety Promotion (Culture) Elements: Elements: 3.1 Safety Performance Monitoring & Measurement • 2.1 Hazard Elements: identification and analysis Process 3.1.1 Continuous monitoring • Process Process 2.1.1 System and task analysis 3.1.2 Internal 1.1 Safety Policy audits by operational depts. • Process Process 2.1.2 Hazard identification 3.1.3 Elements:Internal evaluation 1.2 Management Commitment & Accountabilities • Process 3.1.4 External auditing of the SMS 4.1 Competencies and Training 2.2 Risk assessment and 1.3 Key Safety Personnel control • Process 3.1.5 Investigation Process 4.1.1 Personnel Process Preparedness and Response 1.4 Emergency 2.2.1 Analyze safety risk • Process 3.1.6 Employee reporting and feedback syst. requirements 1.5 SMS Documentation and Records • Process Process 2.2.2 Assess safety risk 3.1.7 Analysis of data Process 4.1.2 Training • Process Process 2.2.3 Control safety risk 3.1.8 System assessment 4.2 Communication and Awareness 3.2 Management of Change 3.3 Continual Improvement • • Process 3.3.1 Preventive/corrective action Process 3.3.2 Management review Federal Aviation Administration SL-2
    3. 3. Important Documents ICAO 1. 2. ICAO Annex 1, 6, 8, 13 ICAO Safety Management Manual (SMM), Doc 9859 FAA 1. 2. 3. FAA Flight Plan 2008 – 2012 SMS Guidance: FAA Order 8000.369 (September 2008) FAA Order 8000.368 (July 2008) - AFS Oversight Responsibilities AVS 1. 2. 3. AVSSMS Doctrine: VS8000.1 (August 2006) (order canceled April 2009) AVSSMS Requirements: VS8000.367 (May 2008) AVS Safety Policy: VS8000.370 (September 2009) AFS 1. 2. AC 120-92A; SMS for Aviation Service Providers (August, 2010) Voluntary Developmental Guidance S Federal Aviation Administration SL-3
    4. 4. FAA SMS Web Site – “SMS” Link Now available: Federal Aviation Administration SL-4
    5. 5. FAA Web Site – Documents Page Federal Aviation Administration SL-5
    6. 6. Federal Aviation Administration SMS Phased Implementation Federal Aviation Administration SL-6
    7. 7. SMS Implementation Process 4 3 2 1 Continuous Improvement Proactive Processes Reactive Processes Planning & Organization Federal Aviation Administration SL-7
    8. 8. “Carelessness and overconfidence are more dangerous than deliberately accepted risk” Wilbur Wright, 1901 Contact: SMS Program Office 703 661 0565 Manager Don Arendt, Ph.D. (703) 661-0516 Wilbur Wright gliding, 1901 Photographs: Library of Congress Federal Aviation Administration SL-8