Considering the Accountable Manager’s Aviation Safety Management System (SMS) Responsibilities

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Sofema Aviation Services (SAS) considers the obligations & responsibilities of the Accountable Manager.

Introduction – Guidance related to ICAO Annex 19

The organisation (service provider) is responsible to identify the accountable executive who, has ultimate responsibility and accountability, on behalf of the organisation, for the implementation and ongoing maintenance of the SMS.

This Person is typically considered the Accountable Manager (AM) and shall be acceptable to the Competent Authority.

According to EASA The Accountable Manager shall:

» Ensure that all Necessary Resources are available to accomplish maintenance and to support the organisation approval

» Establish and promote the Safety and Quality Policy

The AM is typically expected to have oversight & control of the following areas:

» Financial Obligations

» Human Performance related to organizational activities

It is incumbent on the AM to ensure the organisation is able to operate within an environment of a “Just Culture” in a fully transparent way with a non-punitive reporting system.

The AM should have visibility of any outstanding issues through for example access to Hazard Logs & Risk Registers.

Safety Manager Roles & Responsibilities

The Organisation (service provider) is also required to appoint a safety manager who is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of an effective SMS.

Note - The operators/service providers are also required to identify the safety accountabilities of all members of management, irrespective of other functions.

When during a risk assessment the combination of severity and likelihood indicates that the hazard is in an area of tolerance where there is a high possibility that the exposure exceeds existing control measures with the potential for a severe (negative outcome) the situation should be brought to the immediate attention of the Accountable Manager (AM).

Important Considerations Related to Safety Responsibility

For some persons the Safety Manager should be responsible for Safety – however, the challenge here is that the Safety Manager is not actually responsible for any particular business area (The Post Holders / Business Area Owners are) – therefore it becomes difficult to effect change.

Conversely, the accountable executive has ultimate control over the budget; therefore, it is the AM who has access to the funds and resources to address any issues related to an unacceptable level of Risk related to any organizational hazard.

Examples of business areas which may require AM Intervention are issues related to:

» Cabin Safety

» The potential for any Loss of Control In-flight

» The possibility related to Controlled Flight Into Terrain

» Matters related to Runway Safety

» The potential for a Mid Air Collision

» Issues concerning unresolved Fatigue

» Related to the carriage of certain goods for example Lithium Batteries / Chemical Oxygen Generators

» Issues related to Handling & Flying Skills

In Response to Critical Exposure, Mitigation Steps that the AM can require to be taken include:

» Cessation of the particular activity

» Additional safeguards to be included in the standard process & procedures

» Additional Controls to be introduced to directly address the risk

» Emergency Response Plan to be modified to address the exposure

» Insurance to be introduced to financially “protect” the organisation  

Next Steps

Sofema Aviation Services (SAS) & Sofema Online (SOL) provide Aviation Safety Management & Risk Assessment Training available as Classroom, Webinar & Online Training. For additional details or if you have any questions, please visit our websites or email

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