Aviation Safety Management System (SMS) Considerations Related to Risk Exposure Adequate Defenses

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Sofema Online (SOL) www.sofemaonline.com looks at typical descriptors for Defenses that reduce or mitigate the risk related to a particular hazard.


Consider the Term “As Low as Reasonably Practicable” (ALARP). Not all risks are manageable to the extent that they are either no longer a factor or they are economically impractical to mitigate means the cost outweighs the benefit.

Hazard Identification / Risk Assessment is carried out in order to identify the hazards in the organizational systems and operational environment. It also supports the risk assessment where we consider the probability of occurrence and the severity of the hazard effects are analyzed and where the magnitude of the risk and its acceptability are determined.

Defenses in the aviation system can be grouped under three general categories:

  1. a) technology;
    b) training;
    c) regulations.

As part of the analysis process, it is necessary to make a determination as to whether new defenses are necessary or if existing ones must be reinforced.

Essentially this determination is made by subjective examination to determine whether:

  1. a) existing defenses protect against the safety risks;
    b) defenses function as intended;
    c) the defenses are practical for use under working conditions;
    d) staff are aware of safety risks and the consequences of the hazard and the defenses in place.

The following list is Intended to Support the understanding of the current situation and why the perceived risk is manageable in its current form (or not if there is a shortfall).

In each case consider the following precursor to the listed item or statement.

This is not an issue / significant issue / major issue because of:

» The System Design

» The Current Regulatory Environment  

» System Integrity

» Process Integrity

» The Implemented Procedures

» The existing safety / Oversight process

» Standard of Cabin Crew Training

» Adequate staff levels

» Compliance with approved procedures and instructions;

» Levels of competency and training to carry out specific roles

» Maintaining required levels of performance

» Achievement of the safety policy and objectives

» Effectiveness of interventions and risk mitigations.

» The Equipment used

» Protected by Technology / Software

» Safety is Hard Engineered

» Soft Defenses (SOP)

» Soft Defenses Staff Notification   

» Soft Defenses Staff Training General

» Familiarity with the Process Procedure

» Standard Level of competence

» Warning System

» Standard of Maintenance Training

» Standard of Flight Training

» The use of Checklists

» Briefings are Carried out

» Call outs

» Physical defenses

» Specially designed hardware and software that discourage or prevent inappropriate action

» Administrative defenses

» local procedures

» Supervision and inspection

» Competency Management Schemes

Next Steps

Are you looking for SMS training, consultancy, implementation workshop, or training in analysis and mitigation strategies? Contact Sofema Aviation Services!

Sofema provides a range of courses covering all elements of Safety Management including Introduction, Implementation, and performing a Risk assessment. Please visit www.sassofia.com www.sofemaonline.com or email team@sassofia.com

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