What is SMS?
SMS can be defined as a coordinated, comprehensive set of processes designed to direct and control resources to optimally manage safety.
SMS Advisory Circular (AC)
- The current Safety Management System (SMS) is an excellent example of such a voluntary program that will ultimately become a regulatory requirement in the U.S.
- The FAA has issued Advisory Circular 120-92A that contains the SMS standard and encourages certificate holders to implement the elements of the program on a voluntary basis.
Where did the Concept of SMS start from?
Started with the Transport of Canada and currently has three widely accepted model by various organizations such as the:
- Transport Canada
The Evolution of SMS Principles
The Four Pillars of SMS
- Safety Policy- Establishes senior management's commitment to continually improve safety; defines the methods and organizational structure needed to meet safety goals.
- Safety Risk Management (SRM)- Determines the need for, and adequacy of new or revised risk controls based on the assessment of acceptable risk.
- Safety Assurance (SA)- Evaluates the continued effectiveness of implemented risk control strategies; supports the identification of new hazards.
- Safety Promotion- Includes training, communication and other actions o create positive culture within all levels of the workforce.
The heart of any SMS organization is the inter-relationship between Safety Risk Management and safety assurance.
Hazard or Risk Identification
Before risk can be managed, a potential hazardous condition must be identified. These two concepts of hazard or risk can be easily confuse.
HAZARD- a condition, object or activity with the potential of causing injuries to personnel, damage to equipment or structures, loss of material, or deduction of ability to perform a prescribed function.
- An example of a hazard used by ICAO, a crosswind of 15 knots blowing perpendicular to a runway is a hazard; NOT A RISK.
RISK- the assessment, expressed in terms of predicted probability and severity of the consequences of a hazard taking as reference the worst foreseeable situation.
- Risk can be expressed as a formula: P x S= R
- Where P is the probability that a given hazard may materialize.
- S is the severity of consequences that the materialized hazard can generate.
- R is the expected risk per unit of time or activity.
The purpose of risk mitigation is to control hazards so they do not become risks, or alternatively, reduce the severity or likelihood of the risk to an acceptable level. The order of precedence for these controls is well established, and they are listed below:
- Elimination of Hazard - The most effective is the engineering control strategy which eliminates the safety risk completely. An example would be providing interlocks to prevent thrust reverser activation in flight.
- Reduction of the hazard level- reduction of the severity or likelihood of the event reduces its overall impact, perhaps moving its classification from unacceptable to acceptable on the risk assessment matrix.
- Employment of safety devices- this control method is not fail-safe, but its mechanical nature often prevents exposure to potential hazards.
- Warnings and alert methods- this could be visual (warning light) or audible, such as an aircraft stall or landing gear warning horn. One of the control weaknesses is that after a warning notice is received, human action is necessary.
- Safety procedures- These are known as administrative control strategies, and thus are considered a "soft" control measure. Training and regulations can be put into place, but human error can negate this type of control.
Management of Change- New Hazards to Consider
- Preventive/corrective action- assignments must be tracked and managed. This is an active process requiring the routine follow up and continuous assessment.
- Top management review- should be regularly conducted by the SMS Accountable executive and other safety boards and committees at all levels of management.
The Future of SMS in Aviation
- Use of QUALITY PRINCIPLES will allow SMS programs to continue employing new methods using empowerment and positiveculture techniques to obtain safety levels never before achieved in commercial aviation.
- The next few years will bring increased international collaboration and employment opportunities.