Friday, February 1, 2013

What is an Aviation Safety Management System

What is an Aviation Safety Management System

Note what your aviation SMS program is lacking!
An aviation safety management program consists of multiple elements. Most airlines and airports, although they don't have formal aviation safety management systems (SMS), already have many components of an aviation safety management program. For example, they may have safety policies, formal airline/airport hazard reporting systems, routine safety communications (safety meetings) with employees and sometimes, a culture revolving around proactive safety processes. However, seldom do we see airlines, airports, aviation maintenance (MROs), FBOs or flight schools with a complete SMS (even those operators who have been trying to implement a formal aviation SMS program may have several missing elements). They may have components of the SMS in their aviation safety management program, but these aviation SMS elements are not integrated--they are neither present nor engrained in their aviation safety management system.

To determine the components of effective aviation safety management programs, one could look at the four phases of implementing an SMS. This resource outlines steps to implement aviation aviation safety management programs, broken out into four phases as recommended by ICAO, FAA, Transport Canada and most other civil aviation authorities. Again, most aviation service providers already have some of these elements incorporated into their existing aviation safety management programs; however, these items are disjointed and not tied together in an easily managed system. Aviation safety management software programs often help to tie these elements together, but MOST aviation safety management system software does NOT cover every component of a complete aviation SMS program.

Four Phases of Aviation Safety Management System Implementation

SMS Pro, a Web-based aviation safety management software program was designed to integrate these following features and more:

Aviation SMS Software Helps!

    Phase One of an Aviation SMS Implementation (Planning Phase)

  • CEO Commitment to Safety
  • Aviation SMS Gap Analysis
  • Implementation Plan based on above Aviation SMS Gap Analysis
  • Goals & Objectives based on the Aviation SMS Implementation Plan
  • Document repository to save all aviation SMS documentation
  • Aviation Safety Policies
  • Aviation Safety Key Personnel Duties & Requirements
  • Safety Communication via Aviation SMS Newsletters
  • Safety Surveys to take the pulse of your Aviation SMS

    Phase Two of an Aviation SMS Implementation (Reactive Phase)

  • Hazard / Issue Reporting System with SMS Manager interface
  • Manage SMS training & qualifications for reactive risk management processes
  • Provide documentation via reports of reported SMS issues
  • Maintain feedback loop with organizational members reporting SMS issues
  • Promote safety communications through newsletters and documented safety meetings (Meeting Manager)

    Phase Three of an Aviation SMS Implementation (Proactive & Predictive Phase)

  • Manage proactive and predictive risk management processes
  • Manage SMS training & qualifications for proactive & predictive risk management processes
  • Provide Web interface to retrieve documentation relating to proactive & predictive risk management
  • Promote safety communications through safety newsletters & documented safety meetings (Meeting Manager)

    Phase Four of an Aviation SMS Implementation (Safety Assurance Phase)

  • Review safety performance indicators with SMS Pro's Performance Monitor
  • Review & revise Goals & Objectives using SMS Pro's Goals & Objectives module
  • Monitor continuous improvement using reports in SMS Pro's Performance Monitor
  • Maintain documentation using SMS Pro's document managing tools & online reports
  • Use SMS Pro's newsletters to communicate SMS
  • Use SMS Pro's data analysis & reporting charts & graphs to include into newsletters
Aviation Safety Software
Each of the four pillars of an ICAO compliant SMS program are illustrated above. Each of these four pillars or phases of effective aviation safety management program can be managed by SMS Pro. Modules exist for each activity and regulatory requirement. SMS Pro Partners provide aviation SMS training, aviation SMS consulting and aviation SMS database software.

The SMS Pro partners may provide any or all of the following aviation SMS program services:
  • Safety management training;
  • Safety management mentoring;
  • Safety management Consulting;
  • Aviation Safety Manuals;
  • SMS Database Tools.
Contact us today to learn more about SMS Pro's aviation safety management program.

For an SMS Pro demo, contact or to learn more.

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™.