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Why Airports Need a Safety Management System (SMS)

Aviation safety is a continual process. Technology has greatly improved safety management in the aviation industry; however, safety is ultimately about paying careful attention to surroundings, documenting employee reports, and letting the data submitted into an intelligent, central system create a predictive set of processes. There’s never a shortage of opportunities to prevent an accident, and to put your organization in the best position for safety management, you must implement an SMS. In the early days of the aviation industry, there was very little safety regulation. All aspects of the workforce relied on their personal experience and had acquired little engineering expertise. Today, safety management has evolved to incorporate the advancements of technology and to improve safety at the organizational level.

Well-Defined Protocol

With the four components of an SMS at play, an explicit protocol is established to first set a foundation, identify and assess risks, evaluate effectiveness, and, finally, create a culture of safety. These four components include safety policy, safety risk management, safety insurance, and safety promotion. Without a specific set of processes that build upon one another, chaos can ensue. With an SMS, you can first establish your safety policy. This initial step allows you to define the methods, processes, and organizational structure needed by your organization to meet your safety goals. With this step, your senior management team clearly outlines and commits to a specific safety policy. They create objectives and fine-tune safety management processes, allowing for transparency and accountability. With safety risk management, you can move into either creating new or modifying any existing risk controls. You can expect to work with a formal process within your SMS. This process starts with a description of the system, the identification of hazards, assessment of risks, analysis of risks, and in the end, controlling the risk.

Through safety assurance, an SMS employs a continued evaluation of how effective your risk control strategies are. You can ensure compliance with FAA orders and any other policies or directives. You can also rely on data analysis and system assessment along with information acquisition to make use of audits, evaluation, and employee reporting. This component delivers the insight you need to continue improving safety and minimizing risk. This functional component is ongoing, empowering you to continue with safety improvements. The final component is safety promotion. This means that you are relaying efforts to the rest of your workforce after you have clearly identified an explicit protocol. You can then move into providing SMS training and ensuring you are creating a constructive safety culture within your organization. With his component, you’ve reached a level of clarity that allows you to communicate effectively with all members of your workforce, no matter the level at which they work. Ultimately, every person involved in your organization has a responsibility when it comes to promoting safety.

Proactive and Predictive Approaches

Previously, without any well-defined safety regulations and processes put in place, the primary approach to safety was reactive. If there was an incident or accident, the process was to respond to those events as best as possible. With an SMS, you’re moving from reactive responses to proactive and even predictive processes. When you employ a proactive approach, you are actively seeking out hazardous conditions with careful analysis of all safety processes throughout your organization. This proactive approach allows you to go on a fact-finding mission to definitively identify areas for improvement. With this clarity, you can create a more robust safety management system. After your fact-finding mission, you can move into analysis of those system processes so that you can better identify any future issues. An SMS streamlines each of these phases, allowing you to move from a reactive approach to a completely predictive approach. These approaches roll out in phases; however, immediately after implementing an SMS, you see results.

Involved Process

Safety should never be confined to one specific department or set of persons. Instead, safety should be a culture you cultivate throughout your working environment. With an SMS, you are bridging the communication across all hierarchies to create an environment with a hyper-focus on safety and accident prevention. An SMS involves shared responsibility and knowledge sharing, which empowers your entire workforce and allows for the use of high-quality data. Instead of dealing with breaks in communication across different levels throughout your workforce, you have a central location where employees can submit reports and where the data can be analyzed for overall improvement.

This involved process encourages your organization to work collaboratively with common goals in mind. When it’s all hands on deck, the data input into your SMS becomes the lifeblood that not only ensures the best safety protocols but also aids with cost avoidance. With each contribution to the system, your SMS acquires a better understanding of how your processes work and how they can be improved. You gain access to the information needed to control risk while the system self-regulates to ensure its own effectiveness. An SMS uses the collaborative efforts of all members of your organization to set up future action via knowledge and information sharing. Your workforce develops the mindset of safety when they work with an SMS, and, in turn, your organization benefits across the board. 

Having an integrated system that allows for data input throughout your organization makes the difference between a reactive approach to hazards and a proactive and predictive approach. Aerosimple delivers a simplified method that places less emphasis on human inaccuracies and empowers you to utilize real-time data for efficiency in safety management. Schedule your free demo to access a full-featured 60-day trial.

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