Safety Management Systems

Safety Management Systems

Applicable for:

Airports, Aerodromes & Heliports, Fixed & Rotary Wing Operations, Manufacturing, AMOs.

Given the “Aviation Safety in Canada” Report – June, 2017 and the recommendations it prescribes, the probability of Safety Management System (SMS) becoming a mandatory requirement for all Certificate Types, inclusive of 701 – 704 operations and AMOs in the near future, is extremely high. In reality, it is not a question of ‘if the SMS recommendation will be adopted’ by rather, ‘when’? Nevertheless, regulation should not be the singular reason for implementing a SMS (or QMS) any more than regulation should be the highest standard of compliance to which it is implemented – “minimum Standards, result in minimum effect”. There are also other important considerations, including those of business and best practices that arguably warrant a comprehensive SMS; which incidentally, can be achieved without additional burden.

SMS is not a ‘fad’, nor is it a ‘parasitic cost’. Moreover, SMS is not going to disappear as the philosophy is well established and thoroughly demonstrated to improve both safety and profitability; that is, when designed, implemented and managed correctly. SMS is an effective and proven business strategy that enhances safety and augments a Company’s ‘bottom line’. For example, if there has been no noticeable financial improvement since implementing a SMS, a common SMS Key Performance Indicator (KPI) then typically, the SMS is ineffective, and will continue to require additional resources; hence the debated ‘cost’ erroneously attributed to SMS.

QualaTech has implemented many dedicated aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS) effectively, on time and to budget. We thoroughly understand the aviation business and appreciate that your business and SMS are both unique. It is this uniqueness or ‘personality’ that determines your SMS requirements and methods of operation. Equally important, QualaTech recognizes what your Client and Customer needs are, along with their concerns and challenges, both factors which ultimately affect your Safety Management and Customer Service.

Typical SMS development and implementation services for an Airport consists of:

  • SMS Gap Analysis (to determine what components are already present and/or operational).
  • Safety Management Systems Manual (SMSM) (dedicated SMS Manual containing the SMS).
  • Quality Assurance Program Plan / Manual (QAPM) (dedicated Quality Assurance Manual).
  • Safety Assurance Process (Hazard ID & Risk Assessment) (workshop/training & application).
  • SMS & Quality Assurance Training (specific formal training to meet all program applications).
  • Human Factors Awareness Training (HFAT) (fundamental to a robust SMS program).

Remote SMS Assessment (RSMSA - COVID Protocol)

Applicable for:

Airports, Aerodromes & Heliports, Fixed & Rotary Wing Operations, Manufacturing, AMOs.

In keeping with the onsite SMS Assessment (See SMSA below), the RSMSA provides for an equal degree of due diligence in keeping with Industry best practices. Naturally a big consideration is risk mitigation of COVID-19.

In response to the current world crises ("the aviation crisis"), QualaTech has launched two new and unorthodox programmes comprising of "The Remote Audit" and the "Remote SMS Assessment".

The RSMSA not only provides the same level of 'Safety Assurance' captured in a more 'conventional' SMS Assessment (SMSA) process (see below) but is able to accomplish the 'Assessment' with a significant cost savings for the Organisation: while providing the same or even greater degree of accuracy. Nevertheless, the RSMSA is not a temporary 'stopgap' but a robust alternate system enabling an Organisation to continue providing assurance to Senior Management, The Regulator and Clients alike, that the SMS remains effective.

The RSMSA employs many of the same protocols, processes and tools utilized by the traditional SMSA; nevertheless, although it might be assumed these processes are weakened, the nature of the RSMSA medium can actually enhance the process and experience, making the data (evidence) more robust, accurately recorded and consistently captured; the consequence of which, is 'enhanced assurance' i.e. reliable formal proof/evidence.

Given the criterion for the RSMSA is the same as for the SMSA, please also reference the SMSA Service below.

Thank you.

SMS Assessment (SMSA)

Applicable for:

Airports, Aerodromes & Heliports, Fixed & Rotary Wing Operations, Manufacturing, AMOs.

It is widely understood that the absence of an accident/incident - or even having an exceptional safety record - although worthy and highly desirable - can also be decidedly misleading if the safety premise remains unchallenged. For example, in assessing the overall effectiveness of a SMS, it is of greater value to establish and verify the frequency at which a system or process is challenged - to avoid creating unsafe conditions - (proactive process) than it is to rely on a (Reactive) process of 'Corrective Action' to fix an unsafe condition.

In essence, the SMSA is a tool designed to evaluate the overall effectiveness of a SMS; as a function of both compliance and performance, through a series of indicators based on International and National Best Practices. Indicators within the Assessment tool are designed and applied to determine whether key SMS factors are Present, Suitable, Operating, and Effective.

An Assessment (aka evaluation) of SMS effectiveness supports the transition from 'compliance-based oversight' to 'performance-based oversight'; which focuses on SMS performance - not compliance.

The net result is an established baseline by which both the present and future effectiveness of the SMS can be determined and subsequently measured. In short, undisputable evidence based proof the SMS is effective and functional. A major consideration as a factor in Duty of Care and due diligence of the Organisation as well as personal Liability.

Consequently, the best process to ensure that your SMS is effective is to have conducted an SMS Assessment (SMSA) - not to be confused with an Audit – which typically only address ‘Compliance’ and ‘Compliance’ is not a guarantee of Safety! In the words of Transport Canada: "SMS is a tool with which to manage safety. It is not a substitute for compliance with regulations".

If an SMSA has not been previously performed, then avoidable risk is typically endemic and the ability to prove due diligence is subsequently remote. Determining the effectiveness of a SMS is difficult to achieve ‘objectively’ from within the Organisation. The SMSA is a QualaTech Service that provides an unbiased nonpartisan proactive 3rd Party approach to SMS. In addition to the above, the data gained during the Assessment process will further identify weaknesses and strengths in the Organisation, resulting in significantly reduced error and loss, inclusive of incidents, liability, injury, accidents and fatality.

A SMS can only be Audited for Compliance. A SMS Assessment however, determines if the SMS is working as intended by a measure of the overall effectiveness. One under-realized measure is financial in nature: if there has been no recognizable improvement to the ‘bottom line’ then the chances are, the SMS is not effective!

Determining the effectiveness of an SMS is difficult to achieve ‘objectively’ from within the Organisation. A 3rd. Party proactive approach to a SMS Assessment will significantly help reduce error and loss, which includes: incidents, liability, injury, accidents, death and loss of profit. The SMSA is not an inspection or compliance audit but rather focuses on the effectiveness of the SMS itself.

Irrespective of mandatory compliance governing SMS, without a robust and functional SMS in coordination with a Quality Management System (QMS), an Organisation’s ability to acquire additional business, reduce loss and error and diminish avoidable liability is substantially curtailed. An impartial proactive 3rd. Party SMS Assessment is the recognized and proven method to appraise and test a SMS. The exercise not only improves the overall Safety Management capability but assures Clients and Customers (internal & external) that the SMS is both functional and effective.

SMS and OH&S - Bridging The Gap

Applicable for:

Airports, Aerodromes & Heliports, Fixed & Rotary Wing Operations, Manufacturing, AMOs.

  • Harmonization Between SMS & OH&S

(Details provided on request)