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What is Safety Management System and Why Your Organization Needs It?

Most Aviation Businesses work in tandem with a number of interconnected processes in the aviation sector, which requires them to interact with other businesses. In such a scenario, it’s easy to breed vulnerabilities that convert into casualties later. 

The aviation industry can never compromise on the passenger safety and security. Starting from the check-in and the airport to arriving at the destination, a sophisticated system must be deployed to counter check thousands of security points and keep them working. Be it aircraft ground handling or cabin crew, everyone is responsible for maintaining safety along the queue. 

It’s often achieved by what we call the Aviation Safety Management System (SMS), which is an amalgamation of various tools and processes used by aviation businesses to keep their operational safety in check. 

SMS’s are required far and wide in the aviation industry, especially for businesses that directly deal with airport activities. These systems go a long way in ensuring that security protocols are always met. But what is an SMS made of and how is it built? Does your business really require one? 

Let’s answer these questions! 

What does an SMS comprise of?

Basically, Aviation SMS’s comprise of a package of safety implementations that work together to ensure process safety and mitigate risk for the business. ICAO publishes certain standards on which SMS’s are based on. It’s also famously called the 9859 document which contains the foundational principles for Aviation SMS namely,

  • Safety Policy;
  • Safety Risk Management;
  • Safety Assurance; and
  • Safety Promotion.

All these principles come together to make a unified system that actively monitors safety standards across the business process for proper safety. A Typical SMS has the software, monitoring devices and safety managers aligned in an efficient way for upholding the above four principles. 

What processes does an SMS deploy?

A Safety Management System deploys several processes for achieving an overall higher safety standard across your organization. Typically, the implementations vary from business to business but generally, we have the following processes working in an SMS. 

Hazard Identification 

This process is primarily targeted at the potential hazards that your business workflow can give rise to. No system is foolproof and critical breakpoints can arise in any system even after rigorous testing. Therefore, an active module is deployed for finding hazards before they take place and remove them promptly. 

Occurrence Reporting 

Analysis of safety data is key to continuous improvement and oversight on the performance of the safety protocols in place. Using occurrence reporting, a substantial set of data is procured for study. 

Risk Management

Risk Management is used to find possible risks in the system through data analysis. Risk is treated differently from hazard as it both an opportunity to improve and a liability to be fixed. It also involves active measures to mitigate risk. 

QA & Assurance 

Just like any other system, Quality Analysis and Assurance is an integral part of the SMS used by Aviation companies. It helps them keep up with the performance standards published by ICAO and continuously become better at battling safety issues. 

Conclusion A robust SMS can be the difference between preventing a disaster and curing it after it has happened. If you run an aviation business, it’s imperative to set up and deploy an SMS that will stand the test of time. The good part is that you don’t have to do everything on your own. You can seek guidance and engineering help from Aviation Analysts International, who are a group of Aviation veterans working to improve Aviation Safety around the world.

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