Blog posts tagged in Safety

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SofemaOnline ( takes a look at fire safety.

Understanding simple rules can help us to do the right thing when we are faced with a Fire Emergency.

Ensuring Fire safety means understanding the set of practices which are intended to reduce the exposure to the risk of Fire under any circumstances.

Fire safety measures include all activities and behaviours which are intended to prevent the possibility of an uncontrolled fire.

Tagged in: Emergency Fire Safety
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Posted by on in Regulatory

Practical guide to Fire & Safety Risk Assessment

What is Fire Safety Risk Assessment?

Essentially it is the process of considering any aspect within the workplace which could cause harm to people or premises from fire. To determine both the possibility of a fire occurring together with the potential dangers from fire.

What do we Meaning by Risk?

“Fire Risk” or “Potential” can be defined as the Likelihood of a fire occurring multiplied by the Severity of the fire.

The potential of a fire hazard depends on the “opportunity for development” of a fire which originates from the hazard and then develops the potential consequences related to the loss or injury of both life & property.

Tagged in: Assessment Fire Risk Safety
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Considering the relationship between Aviation Quality and Aviation Safety, together with the relationship between Quality Assurance Auditing and Safety Assurance Auditing in Aviation

Often it is apparent there is some confusion between the specific functions of the two different undertakings namely a quality assurance management system and that of a safety assurance management system.

So consider that Quality is essentially looking at compliance, and Safety is looking at Risk.
In essence Quality Assurance is determining gaps based on non compliance with either the regulatory requirements or organisational requirements.

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The Focus of this blog is to consider the inter-relationship between Maintenance Error Management Systems (MEMS) – (typically using the Boeing Maintenance Error Decision Aid as a primary tool) and Safety Management through Human Factor Learning within the context of a viable Safety Management System.

What is the Purpose of MEMS?

The rationale behind a MEMS System is to identify any situations which may “promote” the potential for error. In addition to facilitate (using the organisational framework) the risk based decision making process which will lead to stronger defences.

Tagged in: HF MEMS Safety SMS
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Sofema Aviation Services ( considers the challenges to be found during the implementation & delivery of an effective Maintenance Error Management System (MEMS) within an EASA Part 145 Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO)

Tensions between the desire to ensure safety behaviours and the organisations economic objectives (Production versus Protection) deliver real challenges which have a direct bearing on safety culture.

What is an Aviation Maintenance Safety Culture?

Tagged in: AMO EASA MEMS Part 145 Safety
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The Current Portfolio of SAS “TTT” - training courses currently on offer include Ramp Safety / HF TTT - Maintenance Instructor TTT, Human Factors TTT, Internal Auditor TTT, Safety Management System TTT, Fuel Tank Safety (FTS) & Electrical Wiring Interconnect System (EWIS) TTT and Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA) TTT.

Correct Understanding is Important

Let's have a clear understanding here because it is important to understand that a 3 or 4 day training does not “Deliver” a trainer and clearly we would be “not correct”  if we were to believe this to be so.☺

The reality is that this course as well as other activities is part of a systematic process of building soft skills and competence across a range of topics which support the organization.

Tagged in: Ramp RSHF Safety Trainer TTT
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It is not possible to separate the Safety Management System from the need to manage Ramp HF in the most effective way. In fact the more integration the better in terms of understanding and managing the exposure.

All the elements which are considered as part of our Aviation Ramp Safety & Human Factors Exposure may typically be accommodated and addressed as part of the delivery of the SMS system.

If we are able to study and take appropriate action in respect of the human factors issues, we will be able to better prepare to deal with human factors issues and behaviours in our daily routine.

Driven by ICAO obligations European Countries (as well as the rest of the world) are required to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of ICAO Annex 19.

Airports are specifically mentioned within the requirements related to the need for a State Safety Program as well as the need to demonstrate compliance with the SMS obligations.

Tagged in: HF MHF Ramp Safety SMS
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Steven Bentley MD of Sofema Aviation Services believes it is time to recognise QAS as a component of our organisations' SMS.

Where Should an EASA Compliant Quality Assurance System “Sit” in relation to the Organisations SMS?


Historically (and growing up in the workplace through the 1970’s I can attest to the fact) there was no formal Quality Assurance within European Aviation Operations.

Of course we had Quality Control and the Role of Flight Operations Director and within Maintenance the Role of “Chief Inspector”.

As the Joint Airworthiness Authority’s influence grew the concept of an independent assessment of conformity became the acceptable way of demonstrating compliance.

Tagged in: QA QC Quality Safety SMS
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Effective safety reporting of hazards by operational personnel is an important cornerstone of the management of safety. Therefore, an operational environment in which operational personnel have been trained and are constantly encouraged to report hazards is the prerequisite for effective safety reporting.

The ICAO requirements require that aviation service providers develop and maintain, within the scope of their SMS, a formal process for collecting, recording, acting on and generating feedback about hazards in operations. The process shall be based on a combination of reactive, proactive and predictive methods of safety data collection. 

Best Practice Considerations

Consider the following as best practice objectives regarding the delivery of an optimize and effective Safety Management System.

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Posted by on in Regulatory

Sofema Aviation Service looks at SMS reporting from the EASA perspective

What do we mean by Safety Occurrence Reporting?

We use the term Safety Occurrence to identify as a collective term which is used to embrace all events which have, or could have significance in the context of aviation safety.

Events identified may in fact range from minor events which are deemed to have a potential for an impact on safety through to incidents or events that should be reported to more serious events including serious incidents and accidents.

Building a Reporting Culture

The willingness to report, safety related exposures is a significant measure when we are considering the effectiveness of Safety Management System.

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One of the biggest barriers to an effective Safety Management System (SMS) depends on the willingness of the employees to engage with the organisational system and for the managers to support such a program in a positive and tolerant way.

Without the willingness to engage with the Safety Management System (SMS) the level of data capture will lead to the creation of barriers.

Full engagement by the Management Team is an essential first step on the journey and without doubt. If we are going to maintain a healthy safety management systems (SMS) we require an open process of hazard reporting which allows us to understand the exposure and to reduce the operational risk.

How we are impact the various organisational barriers is in turn impacted by cultural and other behaviours which are often routed in mistrust.

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Sofema Aviation Services looks at typical performance indicators within an Integrated Operation

Flight Operation

Ground Operations


The following list serves as an introduction to a range of indicators which may be employed within your organisation to support the development of Key Indicators and to facilitate the measurement of Safety Performance across the business.

Using Data derived from the Compliance Quality Audit Program to support the Performance Metrics of the Safety Management System

1/ Internal audits/compliance monitoring: all non-compliances

a) Total number of findings per audit planning cycle & trend

b) % of findings which have a safety significance

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There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding Aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS) and Quality Management Systems (QMS).

The following is intended hopefully to clear up this misunderstanding:

QMS and SMS - Offers many common methods and techniques, but provides different outcomes an objectives:

Sufficient competent resources are critical to the success of both the CM system and the SMS. It is also important to realize that essentially the role of both QMS and SMS is to provide a service to the management team to understand both the non-conformities and risks which they face within the business areas.

Tagged in: EASA QMS Quality Safety SMS
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We are very pleased to announce the availability of our latest training which provides for an opportunity to update regarding both the status and effectiveness of your organisational SMS.

Building on the successful release of several Aircraft Maintenance Planning and Production Planning Courses we are pleased to offer this opportunity to provide for a review and update of SMS best practice processes to be developed within your organisation.

Developed to be completed in one day Safety Management System Overview and Recurrent provides for a comprehensive review of the overall effectiveness of your SMS.

We have watched Safety Management Systems grow following an understanding that the reality today is that the major cause of accidents is related to human error which in some way is able to impact the overall process increasing the level of risk and exposure.

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When we consider Dangerous Goods (DG) in aviation the primary concern is the Safety of Passengers, Crew plus the Aircraft as of course the actual Goods which are being transported.

If DG is mishandled in some way it can cause delays and disruption, it may even cause a serious and ultimately fatal accident with the potential loss of even of the aircraft and occupants.

What do we mean by DG?

Essentially we may consider Dangerous Goods are articles or substances capable of posing a risk to a person’s health, safety, property or the environment.

As well as Dangerous Goods which form part of the aircraft basic operational configuration and as such do not need to be declared, Dangerous Goods are also carried on-board the aircraft in passenger or crew carry-on baggage, as well as in the cargo holds as checked passenger baggage, or carried and declared as Dangerous Goods in cargo.

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Hazards of Airplane Fuel - Tank Entry
To ensure effective maintenance within the Fuel Tank Systems there is a need to develop procedures associated with Fuel Tank Entry, Personnel Protection, Working within the Fuel Tank Environment and Fuel Tank Closure.

The separate elements to consider include fully understanding the potential hazards - Fire and explosion, toxic chemicals as well as oxygen deficiency.

Procedures for entry within the tank, ensuring the safety of the environment for the maintenance worker.

Preparations include electrically grounding the aircraft, defueling in accordance with maintenance manual procedures and deactivating all associated systems to ensure personnel safety.

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Do we agree on what we mean we talk about the management of change in connection with our Safety Management System (SMS)?

Essential we are talking about changes within the business which may in some way increase our exposure to risk!

Unfortunately within the business many changes take place which are not considered for the impact that they may create related to increased risk, any lack of communication or in fact even perceived lack of communication (yes perception can lead to negative outcomes) may have negative connotations or worse!

Change Management is an area which deserves more attention than often it receives, the more visibility we provide and the more attention we give to the change then the more likely we will be to address the underlying issues.

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What do we mean by developing a consistent approach?

Well, we want our approach to be system driven and not overly reliant on individuals. Means we want the outcomes to be as independent as possible from the people.

For this to happen a number of elements need to be in place:

a) Procedures

The procedures which describe the methodology employed need to be in sufficient detail to enable all the users to work with them in the same way. We are always going to have a significant degree of subjectivity in our approach to SMS but this does not preclude the development of effective procedures.

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What is the goal of the Aviation Safety Management System - SMS?

Well quite simply it is to:

a) Identify hazards or exposures across every area and facet of the business (ideally considering also financial exposure)
b) Assess the risk in respect of each hazard and how it is currently perceived or how it may be perceived in the future to the organisation, department or person (This is an extremely subjective activity and requires a strong degree of competence)
c) To develop appropriate mitigations to deliver an improvement which will take the risk to the lowest level possible (ALARP) using organisational tools to test or measure proposed solutions so that they are cost effective

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We “should” all agree that an effective aviation Safety Management System establishes clear safety roles and responsibilities throughout the organization.

Moreover it should also be understood that we must ensure that these safety roles and responsibilities are clearly documented, (Auditable) understood, (Measurable) and practiced throughout the organization (Visible and Evidence based).

Our goal should be for individuals to both understand their own responsibilities together with an appreciation of how their individual activities may impact the safety, performance and behaviour of our colleagues within the organization as a whole.
Each business area within the organization must assume both responsibility and accountability for safety of the key elements of personal safety and organisational safety and financial safety.

Best Practice Behaviour to support our SMS

All employees should have a clear understanding of their individual safety roles and responsibilities. (This information should also appear in each job description.)

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