EASA & ICAO Annex 19 Compliant Safety Management Systems Audits

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Sofema Online (SOL) www.sofemaonline.com considers the key elements of an effective Safety Audit.


Performing safety management system (SMS) audits by EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Annex 19 requirements involves a thorough assessment of an organization's safety practices, focusing on risk and performance rather than mere compliance.

The goal of SMS audits is to improve safety performance and manage risks effectively. It's essential to maintain an objective and constructive approach throughout the audit process, focusing on enhancing safety rather than merely ensuring compliance with regulations.

Here's a checklist to guide you through the process:

Pre-Audit Preparation:

>> Scope Definition: Determine the scope and objectives of the SMS audit.

>> Audit Team Selection – Ensure Competent Auditors.

>> Audit Plan: Develop a detailed audit plan outlining the audit process, objectives, and schedule.

>> Audit Criteria: Ensure that the audit criteria align with EASA and ICAO Annex 19 requirements.

Document Review:

>> Review relevant documents

>> Including the organization's SMS manual

>> SMS procedures,

>> Risk assessments

>> Safety performance data.

Safety Audit Execution:

Opening Meeting:

  • Conduct an opening meeting to introduce the audit team, explain the audit process, and establish communication channels.


  • Conduct interviews with key personnel, including safety managers, frontline employees, and relevant stakeholders, to gather information about the SMS.


  • Observe safety practices, operations, and processes in action to assess their effectiveness.

Document Review:

  • Verify that documented procedures and policies are being implemented effectively.

Risk Assessment:

  • Evaluate the organization's risk assessment processes, including hazard identification, risk analysis, and risk mitigation.

Safety Culture:

  • Assess the organization's safety culture and employee awareness and engagement regarding safety matters.

Safety Performance:

  • Review safety performance indicators and data to identify trends, weaknesses, or areas of improvement.

Audit Findings and Reporting:

  • Non-Conformities: Identify and document any non-conformities or deviations from SMS requirements and best practices.

Root Cause Analysis:

  • Analyze the root causes of identified non-conformities to address underlying issues.

Risk Assessment of Non-Conformities:

  • Assess the risks associated with identified non-conformities and prioritize corrective actions accordingly.

Corrective Actions:

  • Recommend and track corrective actions to address non-conformities.

Performance Improvement:

  • Suggest performance improvement opportunities and best practices to enhance the SMS.

Closing Meeting:

  • Conduct a closing meeting to present findings, discuss corrective actions, and provide feedback to the audited organization.

Post-Audit Activities:

>> Audit Report: Prepare a comprehensive audit report, including findings, recommendations, and corrective action plans.

>> Follow-up: Monitor the implementation of corrective actions and verify their effectiveness through follow-up audits, if necessary.

>> Feedback: Provide constructive feedback to the audited organization on their SMS performance.

Audit Closure:

  • Officially close the audit process and archive audit records for future reference.

Continuous Improvement:

  • Share lessons learned and best practices with the audited organization and within your organization to foster continuous improvement.

Sofema Aviation Services (www.sassofia.com) provides Classroom & Webinar Training and through our sister site (www.sofemaonline.com) we provide multiple safety management system courses including implementation and risk assessment. For questions and comments please email [email protected]


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