Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Two Critical Elements for Employee Involvement in Airline/Airport Aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS)

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.

employee involvement in aviation safety management systems (SMS) for airlines and airports
It is ultimately top management's responsibility to ensure airline/airport safety. However, employee involvement remains necessary to make it work. Line employees have the most to contribute to your airline/airport safety program by their direct involvement in following safety work practices and immediately reporting potential hazards or quality concerns. Line personnel are in immediate contact with potentially hazardous situations and are also dealing with pax.

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:
employee involvement in aviation safety management systems (SMS) for airlines and airports
  1. Unrestricted lines of communication; and 
  2. 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:
Newsletters; and


employee involvement in aviation safety management systems (SMS) for airlines and airports

More information on hazard reporting systems

How 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







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 www.nwds-ak.com and www.asms-pro.com to learn more about SMS Pro™.

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