Monday, February 4, 2013

Using Web Based Aviation Safety Management Reporting Programs

Reducing Aviation Related Accidents and Incidents

Aviation safety is among the first and principal objectives of aviation service suppliers around the planet, whether they are airlines, airports, maintenance operations or air traffic control. Aviation safety departments enhance safety by offering convenient solutions required for workers to identify and describe safety or operational irregularities. This in turn allows managers to identify corrective preventive actions that might affect future safety or operational standards.

Aviation Safety Management Software
There are many commercial, off the shelf Web based, hazard reporting computer programs that facilitate submitting safety or operational reports. The purpose for each aviation safety software program is to enhance safety and identify operational deficiencies by facilitating an open line of communication between work groups and management. Events recognized through Web based safety reporting software are vital:
  • For early identification of hazards;
  • To maintain a positive approach concerning safety issues; and 
  • To recommend remedial actions, a.k.a. corrective preventive actions (CPAs).

Safety departments today collect, track, circulate and trend reports submitted by workers using a variety of methods, including:
  • Paper based hazard reports;
  • Electronic, kiosk reporting systems tied to a centralized database;
  • Web based aviation safety reporting programs; 
  • IPad and IPhone apps; and
  • Email. 

Commitment to Aviation Safety Process

Airport Safety Is Vital
Administrators and managers at each airline or airport location should commit their respective departments to respond immediately to safety reports that identify troublesome areas among their organization. The responsibility to identify, analyze, and fix issues is everyone's job and all personnel should be expected to totally cooperate with safety managers to achieve that aim. Safety managers facilitate the aviation safety process, while top management is accountable for safety within their respective departments.

Aviation Safety Management Systems Not New Concept

Aviation safety management systems have been existence for many years. Only recently have aviation safety management systems become a popular buzzword since ICAO mandated in November 2006 that all certificated airlines, airports and aviation maintenance providers adopt formal aviation safety management systems. Generally, every airline and airport has components or parts of what ICAO calls an aviation safety program.  The notion of aviation safety management was borne from resulting aviation accidents that plagued a developing business in the 20th century.

Labor Unions & Civil Aviation Authorities Tackle Aviation SMS Initiatives

Several airlines, airports and helicopter operators work in cooperation with employee labor organizations and civil aviation authorities to implement standardized aviation safety management system. Most of the effort on the part of civil aviation authorities appears in the form of aviation SMS training. Civil aviation authorities and labor unions have generated conventional aviation safety programs for Flight Crews, Dispatchers, and Maintenance Personnel. Many aviation safety programs have voluntary, self-reporting programs developed to spot and correct flight safety concerns. Some of these reporting systems are tied into several different databases so that aviation safety reports can be shared among distinct groups of shareholders.

Effective aviation safety management programs use member or staff input to identify:
  • Vital safety concerns and issues;
  • Operational challenges;
  • Non-compliance with rules;
  • Deviations from business policies and procedures; and 
  • Unusual events. 
In partnership with relevant departments, labor organizations and civil aviation authorities review reported safety issues. These aviation safety issues, which often appear as airline accidents and incidents, are investigated and corrective preventive actions implemented based mostly on a non-disciplinary attitude to flight safety.

Purpose of Aviation Safety Hazards Reporting

Aviation Hazards Exist in Many Places
Aviation safety reports are designed to be employed in conjunction with existing airline or airport procedures. Aviation safety reports do not replace or contradict differing airline/airport procedures, reports, or department requirements.

Voluntary aviation safety reporting to designated agencies may be submitted in lieu of safety reports, provided either regulatory violations or significant flight safety issues have occurred. If employees concerned in alleged regulatory violations mistakenly submits safety reports instead of voluntary safety program reports, company or union representatives may resubmit reports to allow program involvement. Conversely, whenever users submit routine reports to voluntary safety programs that don't involve serious flight safety concerns or possible regulatory deviations, and would be more appropriately handled by management supervisors, then these reports could be rerouted.

All aviation safety reports are risk assessed, categorized and analyzed to see when further analysis could be required to spot root causes of issues and determine whether reasonable safeguards can be implemented. Subsequent criteria might provide foundations for requesting responses from the appropriate aviation departments, such as:
  • Operational shortcomings contrary to regulatory principles
  • Safety issues/problems that are clearly identified
  • Non-compliance with established laws
  • Areas determined to be in non-compliance with company policy/programs
  • Actions wherever uncommon situations warrant an investigation
Aviation safety can't be accomplished without dedication and steadfastness from all areas of airline and airport business units. Aviation safety departments forward hazard reports to different departments to provide data and request responses when necessary. Responses acknowledged from other departments are normally used to supply advice to workers, to complete safety investigations, and to document safety and/or operational advancements.

In conclusion, safety reporting programs are not new in the aviation industry and offer mechanisms to improve safety and engage all users to ensure air travel remains as safety as reasonably practical.

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™.

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