The Need for Effective Safety Surveys Within an EASA Part 145 Safety Management System

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Sofema Online (SOL) takes a deep dive into the subject to understand the merits of an effective safety survey process and the benefits for the organisation.


EASA does not mandate a standard for surveys, this is in fact left to the discretion of the organisation to develop.

Unfortunately this creates a challenge for both the organisation as well as the competent authority

  • An organisation who’s focus is on demonstrating compliance with the regulations may under perform in this area
  • The regulatory authority for its part is challenged to perform effective audits where no criteria exists as a reference point.

Reality Check

At the end of the day it requires a high level of motivation and willingness of the safety team to encourage  engagement through multiple activities to achieve the best safety system outcomes.

Support information and Guidance - Please see additional background content related to developing effective surveys

Delivering an effective EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) Part 145 survey requires a strategic approach, ensuring that the survey effectively engages with the Safety Management System (SMS) communication objectives.

Here are key guidelines to consider for an optimal survey format:

Define Clear Objectives: Start by clearly defining the objectives of the survey. What specific aspects of the SMS do you want to assess or improve?

         >> This could include areas such as hazard identification, risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion.

Target Audience Identification: Identify the target audience for the survey.

>> This could include maintenance personnel, management, and other stakeholders. Understanding their level of knowledge and engagement with the SMS is crucial for crafting relevant questions.

Questionnaire Design:

 >>  Types of Questions: Use a mix of closed-ended questions (like multiple choice or Likert scale) for quantitative analysis and open-ended questions for qualitative insights.

  • Clarity and Relevance: Ensure questions are clear, concise, and directly related to SMS components. Avoid technical jargon unless your audience is familiar with it.
  • Anonymity and Confidentiality: Assure respondents that their responses are anonymous and confidential to encourage honest and candid feedback.
  • Survey Distribution and Timing: Choose a method of distribution that is easily accessible to your audience, such as online platforms or paper-based surveys if more appropriate.

      >> Consider the timing of the survey to ensure maximum participation, avoiding busy operational periods.

Encouraging Participation: Communicate the purpose and importance of the survey to potential respondents.

        >>  Consider incentivizing participation if appropriate and feasible.

Data Analysis and Feedback: Analyze the collected data systematically to identify trends, areas of strength, and areas needing improvement.

      >>  Provide feedback to the participants and stakeholders about the survey findings and any intended actions. This step is critical for closing the communication loop and demonstrating that their input is valued and leads to tangible changes or improvements.

  • Action Plan Development:

          >> Based on the survey results, develop an action plan to address the identified issues or to reinforce positive findings.

          >> Ensure that the action plan aligns with the overall objectives of the SMS and includes clear responsibilities and timelines.

  • Follow-Up: Regularly review the effectiveness of implemented actions.

       >> Consider conducting follow-up surveys to measure the impact of changes made and to ensure continuous improvement.

By following these guidelines, you can create an EASA Part 145 survey that effectively engages with your

Please see Sofema Download Area – 145 SMS Implementation to access a document with multiple example surveys for additional guidance

Next Steps

Sofema Aviation Services ( and Sofema Online ( provides multiple SMS courses including Implementation, Hazard & Risk Assessment.

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