Involvement in Aviation Safety Management System (SMS)Employees must become an integral part of your airline or airport's aviation safety process. Without employee involvement in your SMS program, meaningful and lasting changes are unable to occur. To successfully implement an aviation SMS program, safety managers need to develop a sense of responsibility and pride in the success of the overall safety program. This cultural change increases safety awareness which affects not only themselves, but also coworkers, contractors and customers (pax) as well.
Safety managers should consider hazard identification and problem-solving exercises in the airline or airport's initial and recurring safety training. As we stated, employee involvement is critical. Providing airline/airport employees with knowledge as to what is considered "desirable behavior" is a first step in acquiring their involvement.
Encouraging Employee Involvement in Your Aviation SMS Program
Employee involvement in your aviation SMS program may take many forms. Safety promotion strategies used to encourage and sustain this involvement vary from operator to operator and also culture to culture. Culture is an element that must be accounted for, especially when your airline operations span several countries or your airline/airport employs many expatriates.
For our discussion, two basic elements to increase the probability of success for encouraging employee involvement in your safety program are:
- Unrestricted lines of communication; and
- Visible management actions to address employee concerns.
Lines of communication may be direct or indirect.
Methods of direct communication may include:
- Standard operating procedures and open-door policy;
- Open safety meetings;
- Safety committee participation;
- Work-site inspections participation, hazard analysis
- Input into drafting safety policies and procedures;
- Accident/incident investigation participation; and
- Aviation safety training curriculum development, review, and presentation
Indirect communication may include email or Web based hazard reporting systems.
When employees do report hazards, make sure you close the feedback loop. Other ways to demonstrate that management is dealing with employee concerns (reported hazards) are using:
More information on hazard reporting systemsHow to Encourage Employees to Use SMS Hazard Reporting Tools
Reducing Accidents using Web Based Aviation Safety Reporting Programs
How to Increase Airline/Airport Hazard Reporting
Safety Non-Punitive Reporting Policy Statement Sample
Hazard Reporting for Effective Aviation SMS Management
Public Issue Reporting Aviation Safety Hazards
How to Report Aviation Incidents & Accidents by Email
Reporting Airline Airport Hazards Using IPad & IPhone
Become an SMS PRO
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 www.asms-pro.com to learn more about SMS Pro™.