Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Safety Management Systems - Fliteline 1

                   Introduction: ICAO requires ‘States to, as part of their safety programme, have the service providers/ organizations engaged in commercial operations, maintenance of aircraft, aerodrome operations, provision of air traffic services, design organizations, training to implement a safety management system which is acceptable to the State’.
                    In compliance with the standards of ICAO Annexes, various CARs specify the requirements for the establishment of SMS by an organisation. SMS CAR- CAR Section 1 General Series C Part I specifies the minimum acceptable requirements for the establishment of SMS in an organization.
            BenefitsTo improve on existing levels of aviation safety in the light of the continuing growth of the industry, additional measures are needed. One such measure is to encourage individual operators and maintenance organisations to introduce their own Safety management System.
1. “Safety Management” is defined as the systematic management of the risks associated with flight operations, related ground operations and aircraft engineering or maintenance activities to achieve high levels of safety performance: and,
2. A “ Safety Management System” is an management responsibility which sets out a company’s safety policy and defines how it intends to manage safety as an integral part of its overall business.
            In simple terms an SMS can be compared with a financial management system as a method of systematically managing a vital business function. An aircraft accident is also an “unexpected loss” and not one any organisation in the civil aviation industry wishes to suffer. It should therefore be apparent that the management of safety must attract at least the same focus and degree of care as that given to an organisation’s financial health. An effective, developed SMS will provide this.
               Success in an organisation’s safety performance will be greatly strengthened by the existence of a positive safety culture. Safety culture in an organisation can be described as the way in which it conducts its business and particularly in the way it manages safety. It stems from the communicated principles of top management and results in all staff exhibiting a safety ethos which transcends departmental boundaries. Safety culture can be measured by informal or formal staff surveys, or by observations conducted in safety related work areas. It is essential that safety must be actively managed from the very top of a company. Safety management must be seen as an integral strategic aspect of business management, recognising the high priority attached by the company to safety.
Understanding and Implementing a Safety Management System
1) Organisations establishing an SMS need to take a pragmatic approach, building where possible on existing procedures and practices (particularly Quality Management). SMS identifies and prioritises the use of resources to manage risk and it should lead to gains in efficiency.
2) Adoption of “best practice” standards must be a clearly stated objective.
3) A fully-fledged SMS is a formalised, company wide system. Established at corporate level, the SMS then devolves out into the individual departments of an organisation. Flight Operations, engineering & Maintenance, Ground Handling and all other departments whose activities contribute to the operator’s safety performance will have their own processes and procedures under the umbrella of the corporate SMS.
4) Where safety sensitive functions of the operator are outsourced (for example maintenance and ground handling) contractual agreements should identify the need for equivalent auditable SMS in the supplier.

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