Building an EASA Compliant Flight Operations Risk Register as Part of our Safety Management System (SMS)

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Sofema Aviation Services (SAS) Considers the importance of managing the risks in a systematic and controlled way using a Risk Register as the Fundamental Tool.

Hazard identification is the foundation of the risk management process in an SMS and may be conducted reactively, proactively, and even predictably. A Hazard is something with the potential to cause harm, and a risk is the potential outcome of a hazard.

What is the difference between a Safety System Hazard Register and a Risk Register?

A hazard register is a source of information from which we can consider the risks, whereas a risk register contains information related to the nature of the risk (clearly a risk register serves a higher purpose).

The Visibility of Hazards

» Visible hazards – Are essentially obvious they can be observed, smelt, heard, tasted, or felt.
» Hidden hazards (Sometimes known as latent hazards) are not so easily understood and can relate to either physical hazards such as electricity or non-physical related to poor training, stress, etc.

An Effective Risk Register Process can support the following SMS Analysis:

»  ‘Reactive’ risk management (incident investigation)
»  ‘Proactive’ risk management (Used to identify potential risks)
»  ‘Predictive’ risk management (supported by Data to identify the area of exposure)

As part of the development of an EASA compliant SMS related to Organisation & Administration Activities, the Safety Management System will benefit from the development and continuous monitoring of a Risk Register.

A risk register is a crucial part of your approach to managing these risks. It's a tool to help you identify, assess, and record your risks and the actions you're taking to eliminate or minimize them.

For each of the following items perform a risk assessment and ask the questions which help you determine the level of exposure that currently exists in your organisation by asking for each item the following 5 questions:

» Is this an issue in our organisation?
» If it is not considered an issue how can I demonstrate it – where is the evidence?
» How can I measure the effectiveness of the current process?
» How effective is documentation/training?
» If there are changes in this element how effective would the system accommodate the changes?

Examples of Potential Flight Operations hazards which can be risk assessed for your organisation:

» Lack of or poor airworthiness verification
» Lack of or poor verification of equipment and instruments necessary to a particular flight or operation
» Lack of, incorrect or incomplete aircraft performance limitations verification
» Lack of, incorrect or incomplete flight planning
» Poor fuelling processes
» Lack of or poor aircraft dispatch or release
» Lack of or poor maintenance release
» Incorrect cargo loading and distribution
» Improper or unauthorized hazardous materials carriage
» Poor cargo and baggage stowage
» Incorrect information on cargo or baggage loaded
» Improper stowage of carry-on baggage
» Improper weight and balance calculations
» Use of obsolete documents
» Absence of or incorrect flight and cabin crew manuals or charts on board
» Improper response to flight route changes
» Airborne collision
» Aircraft upset
» Collision on the runway
» Excursions
» Fire, smoke, and pressurization
» Obstacle collision in flight
» Terrain collision
» Other injuries

Next Steps

Sofema Aviation Services and Sofema Online provide multiple training courses related to Safety Management System Risk and Hazard Training. For additional details visit our websites or email

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