Aviation SMS Change Management Process Considerations

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Sofema Online (SOL) www.sofemaonline.com looks at the various elements involved in an Aviation SMS Change Management Processes.


We all accept that there will be constant changes both within our organisation (internal changes) and within the greater aviation system, (both internal and external) including:

» Regulatory changes,

» Management changes,

» Equipment changes,

» Changes in procedures process, or manning levels,

» Expansion or Contraction.

The Change Management Process should ensure that any hazards associated with the change are formally and systematically identified and managed, and that a formal process exists to ensure the management of the change is continually evaluated and monitored.

Safety Assurance should ensure that throughout the lifecycle of the change, management are presented with feedback regarding the effectiveness of the implemented processes as well as the overall health of the system.

Note - As part of a formal process of the management of change, the system description and the baseline hazard analysis should be reviewed periodically, even if circumstances of change are not present, to determine their continued validity.

What is contained within an SMS Change Management Process?

Within the change management process, we will typically expect a documented strategy to proactively identify and manage the safety risks that can accompany change. Whilst it is focused on significant change, in fact, any change may have a “knock-on” or trickle-down effect.

» An effective process will assess in fact all changes (Initially at a low level and where required in-depth).

» Changes may impact existing mitigations or introduce new risks and exposures and it is necessary to have a formal process to assess and measure the impact.

Note - The change Management process should be fully integrated into the SMS Hazard and Risk Assessment Process.

» Any perceived safety risks connected to the “consequences” of identified hazards should also be analyzed assessed and mitigated where appropriate. Additionally, actions should be evaluated and measured for effectiveness.

Competence & when to use Subject Matter Experts?

The competence of the persons involved in the evaluation process is highly critical to the effectiveness of the process.

» Consideration should be given to ensure that stakeholders from all departments affected in the change have a direct input into the evaluation process.

» In any event, a formal competence management process is expected.

Actions To Take

Consider the effectiveness of the various mechanisms which exist in your system:

» How are you able to measure this, essentially to consider that to achieve the maximum effectiveness then we should be able to demonstrate a measure against which we can assess each and every element.

Next Steps

Sofema Aviation Services (www.sassofia.com) Provides Safety Management System Consultancy, Classroom, Webinar, and Online Training including a 3-day SMS Safety Risk Management course.

For additional support or questions please email us at [email protected]

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