Setting Up a Safety Management System for Your Organization

Setting Up a Safety Management System for Your Organization

A Safety Management System (SMS) is an organisation-wide, top-down  approach to managing safety, putting safety on par with any business unit in an organisation.  Typically, in an SMS organisation, the CEO or Managing Director is held accountable for any safety-related infringement that may affect or impact stakeholders.  SMS is an all-inclusive tool, ensuring all levels of staff participation through the Safety Action Groups (SAG) and management/leadership inputs via the Safety Review Board (SRB). It is a versatile tool that can be tailored to the size and nature of an organization. Some aspects taken into account by an SMS are policies and procedures, organizational structures, and accountabilities. In essence, it helps facilitate safer business operations.

Below are some important steps to consider when setting up your aviation organization’s SMS.

  1. Identify Your Safety Personnel

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It is essential that your key safety team members understand what their responsibilities are. In the planning stages, you should have a good idea of whom your team will comprise: for example, who your Accountable Manager and Safety Manager will be. Following this, ensure every member understands their roles and responsibilities clearly. Some important information they should know are:

  • Their roles and responsibilities
  • Aims and goals of the system
  • Direction of the system
  • Status of system implementation
  1. Establish the Implementation Plan

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 This is a detailed guide on how you will introduce your SMS to the organization. Your implementation team (often made up of the Accountable Manager, Safety Manager, Responsible Manager and staff representatives) should play a major role in canvassing the implementation plan. Keep in mind that this is a living document, and is bound to experience changes along the way.

Once a plan has been laid out, the team can determine the safety policy and objectives for your organization – this helps other staff members understand the need for safety management, and its vision. Channels of communication between staff and the safety team can be set up to inform them of their roles in your organization’s SMS. One important consideration your implementation team should look at is the development of an emergency response plan: identifying emergency roles, training requirements, and emergency contacts. Finally, upon establishing the implementation plan, the team could prepare a training needs analysis to begin the implementation process.

  1. Prepare a Gap Analysis

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A gap analysis determines which parts of your SMS you already have in place, and what should be added or modified to meet regulatory requirements, and that of your organization.

Along with ICAO, many national aviation authorities provide useful gap analysis examples and manuals, which you can refer to for better understanding. The ICAO Safety Management Manual (https://www.icao.int/safety/fsix/Library/DOC_9859_FULL_EN.pdf#search=Safety%20Management%20Manual) can guide you in executing your SMS effectively.

  1. Educate Your Staff


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There is no use of an SMS if your staff members are not well-informed about it. There are four main components (Safety Policy and Objectives, Safety Risk Management, Safety Assurance and Safety Promotion) and twelve main elements in the universal SMS framework – your staff should understand at least the basics.

To maintain a good level of safety management education within your organization, you may convey information via safety bulletins, newsletters, and internal safety meetings. You may also collect documents and resources to build an internal SMS library.

Source: Dviation Group

However, internal education alone is often insufficient and not as impactful. Hence, you can help your staff by enrolling them in workshops and courses offered by external providers, who are experts in safety management. Training providers such as Dviation (www.dviation.com) offer Safety Management System refresher courses, which can improve safety management knowledge, and increase team spirit among your staff. This course is beneficial to all staff members as well as safety management stakeholders and quality audit staff.

Click here for course details!


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