Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to Increase Airline/Airport Hazard Reporting

Increasing Airline/Airport Incident and Hazard Reporting

Aviation Hazard Reporting
One of the biggest challenges airlines and airports face while implementing their aviation safety management system (SMS) is to get all stakeholders on board and going in the same direction. Most employees are working to support their families and maintain a lifestyle. They don't see any additional value in your "safety management system," or the boss' "safety management system," unless you convince them.

Improving your reporting culture takes time. Employees must trust the system and believe your SMS program is not just another passing fad. Your external stakeholders must also be convinced that the integration of safety management principles into your operations is how you plan to conduct all future business.

All Stakeholders Should Report Aviation Hazards & Incidents

Convincing employees under your control, or those under the organization's control is easier than those outside this control. All stakeholders in an organization should have the ability to submit Safety, Quality, Security, Compliance and Environmental issues to your organization's aviation safety management system. These stakeholders may be suppliers, customers, contractors, external auditors or board members.

This is not a hard concept to grasp, but requires some planning and forethought to execute. Show everyone involved in your aviation operations the "win/win" benefits of reporting airline/airport hazards and incidents. Your safety promotion efforts will come to play here in the form of safety posters, safety newsletters, mentioning your safety program at regular meetings, etc.

Common Ways to Easily Get External Users to Submit Hazard Reports

Some aviation safety management software products, such as SMS Pro, allow external stakeholders to report issues in a variety of ways, such as at a kiosk using public, Web based hazard reporting interface. To watch a video or to show to your management team, see this video:
Aviation Safety Hazard Reporting System for Public Users
Getting Outside Users to Report Incidents is Important
Providing the ability for everyone to easily submit aviation accidents, incidents and hazards helps airlines, airports, MROs, FBOs and flight schools to provide safer services and improve quality. Whichever method you prefer, the key point to take away is "the hazard reporting process must be easy." Whether you use a public, Web based hazard reporting software like the one mentioned above, email, IPad, IPhone or another method, the process must be easy and allow for timely feedback, if requested.

For most Web based hazard reporting systems, only registered users are able to report issues to the corporate Web-based aviation safety management system. This rule is often enforced in order to maintain security and facilitate the feedback loop, i.e., users reporting issues would receive email confirmations and be able to see the status of their issue at any time. SMS Pro has the ability for all external stakeholders to submit issues, regardless of whether they are logged in.

Locking down the hazard reporting system helps prevent abuse and enhances security, but at a cost. In five years, SMS Pro has seen very little abuse of the external hazard reporting tools by external users. Even with the email reporting, SMS Pro has seen only one case of blatant, repeatable span against a configured aviation safety email reporting account.

How to Setup External Aviation Hazard & Incident Reporting

Setting up a Web based hazard reporting tool is rather elementary for those who have access to your company Web pages. As an example, let's take a sample site of a fictitious airline called

Have your Web masters create a link readily visible to the public announcing your commitment to safety and quality. You want them to know you appreciate their input and are willing to acknowledge their concerns. On this page, place a link to your public, Web based hazard reporting system. If you don't know which URL to give to your Webmaster, then contact NWDS support staff.

One limitation of most public issue reporting modules is that Safety Managers must communicate to the issue reporters via contact information supplied by the user. When companies enforce an anonymous and non-punitive reporting policy, contact information may not be supplied by reporters.

Other Methods to Increase External Aviation Hazard & Incident Reporting

Email Reporting is Very Easy
Providing a public, Web based aviation hazard and incident reporting interface is not the only way to increase your hazard reporting. Millions of people are packing IPads and IPhones. To see how airlines and airports can get users to report hazards and incidents using IPad and IPhone, follow this link:

Most users today have email accounts. If your safety program does not accept emails, you should consider getting hazard reporting software that accepts email reports. Emails are perhaps the easiest way to initiate reported hazards and incidents besides verbal. Verbal is often not always the easiest either, or most convenient. To learn more about reporting aviation incidents and accidents by email, see this link.

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About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. In 2007, NWDS developed SMS Pro™ a web based SMS application that supports an organization's overall SMS through safety reporting, safety documentation, safety risk management and safety assurance. SMS Pro™ is currently used by aviation organizations in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East to help manage their SMS programs. NWDS continues to support SMS Pro™ and add new functionality. NWDS offers custom contract programming services in the U.S. and Canada and is managed by Chris Howell, one of the founders. Their headquarters is in Anchorage, Alaska. For information on NWDS visit their website at and to learn more about SMS Pro™.