What is a Safety Management System?

Aviation is remarkable for the giant technological leaps it has made over the last century. This progress would not have been possible without parallel achievements in the control and reduction of aviation’s safety hazards. Given the many ways that aviation can result in injury or harm, those involved with aviation have been preoccupied with preventing accidents since the earliest days of flying. Through the disciplined application of best safety management practices and the highest assessment and control standards in aviation, most organisations have seen the frequency and severity of aviation occurrences decline significantly.

So what is a Safety Management System?

A safety management system is a business like approach to safety. It is a systematic, precise and proactive process for managing safety risks. As with all management systems, a safety management system provides for goal setting, planning, and measuring performance. The ICAO have provided a model for a compliant Safety Management System that has been adopted by regulators throughout the world. This model states what an organisation must do in terms of safety processes and procedures. The what includes requirements for top management led policies and objectives and to have procedures for hazard identification, risk management, safety assurance and training among other things.

However, more important than what is the why! For a safety management system to be truly effective it must be woven into the fabric of an organization. It must become part of the culture or as James Reason would state; “the way we do our business around here”. Great manuals, procedures and methods will deliver little without the awareness and more importantly the engagement and commitment of people!

What that means in practical terms and how you go about implementing or managing it is covered within our comprehensive Aviation SMS Training Program.

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