Regulatory, Industry and Business Drivers influencing our SMS

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In the context of Aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS) we usually talk about Safety Culture as being an integral part of the SMS process, but do we have a shared understanding of what we mean when we talk about Safety Culture.

Essentially it is how we feel personally about the risk faced regarding a particular hazard (although we do not view it in these terms) – think about it next time you jump an amber traffic light!

This personal behaviour is impacted by various external influencers for example – our national psyche, family values, work place norms, peer pressure etc.

We should also understand that impacting safety culture can be very challenging. SMS when it is most effective should be considered as a “Top Down” management approach to the promotion of safety within the organisation.

ICAO, IATA, FAA & EASA are among many of the influencers proving to be major drivers of both regulatory and industry initiatives focused on delivering an ever improving goal of delivering an enhanced level of safety.

Within the framework of our SMS system the organisation itself should strive to demonstrate a behaviour which is term “just culture” in which errors commit without any malice or intended deviation from the anticipated outcome are treated in an honest way, where the organisational role in any mistake is understood and appropriate corrective actions or mitigation's are delivered in an effective and measured way.

Organisations should recognise the challenges they face and understand that confidence is hard won and easily lost. However we should also clearly communicate that “Violations” will not be tolerated and such deviations will be treated as personal misconduct.

The importance of understanding our exposures in the most proactive way possible should be encouraged at every level of the organisation. From the point of view of the organisation it is important that we have able sufficient manpower with the required skill level and competence to perform the necessary investigation to understand the event, the contributing factors the root cause and to be part of the process to propose appropriate mitigation's.

The willingness of the individual to engage with this “SMS” process is one of the leading indications of the effectiveness of the organisations SMS, in addition to developing a strong proactive approach to safety can also prove to be a safety multiplier.
SMS as a core driver can also lead to organisational business process optimisation which as well as delivering a higher level of safety can deliver saving within the business.

Sofema Aviation Services offers online and classroom based Safety Management System training courses for aviation organisations, airports and regulators. For more information please email us at [email protected] or [email protected]

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