A Fully Implemented Safety Management System (SMS) Aids an Aviation Organization in The Creation and Maintenance of a Positive Safety Culture

Published: 2022-07-18 09:00:00
A Fully Implemented Safety Management System (SMS) Aids an Aviation Organization in The Creation and Maintenance of a Positive Safety Culture
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: History United States Economics Finance Personality
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1830 words
16 min read


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Aviation industry which in many ways is like other high-tech, high-risk organizations work with the view that accidents are inevitable. Much effort has been directed towards improving safety in this industry throughout the world and specifically Australia. The need for such adjustments is undisputable. Each year, hundreds of accidents involving Australian and foreign registered aviation firms are reported. Oien, et al. (2011) while referring to the ATSB report mentions that in 2016 alone, there were 21 incidents in the aeronautics sector in Australia. This does not take in the number of deaths relative to illness acquired at work due to exposure to harmful substances. In the light of such knowledge, many companies have introduced Safety Management Systems (SMS) to improve their protection routine. Some trademarked systems such as the ICAO framework are rather comprehensive in their coverage of health issues and workplace safety and offers proper procedures and tools for its management. The proprietary systems are wide-ranging in their coverage and give organizations the alternative of developing safety culture relative to the international and Australian standards. Safety Management Systems are necessary and useful in the creation and maintenance of a positive safety culture since they provide guidelines towards this achievement.

The evolution of Safety Management System

To understand Safety Management System, it is meaningful going back in history to check its origin. It is quite easy to notice how young the SMS in the aviation industry is in its own entity. Nonetheless, the modern tenants of the programs trace back to a long time in history. It is tough to determine the exact origin of this system because of the many different influences, different timelines in different nations and different interpretations of the program. There is no specific beginning for the aviation SMS, but instead, it is surrounded by the evolutionary process, combinations, and influences from other fields. According to studies, the evolution process is claimed to have taken about 50 years through significant waypoints to what people formally refer to as aviation SMS today CITATION Sto17 \l 1033 (Stolzer, 2017). The year 2016 was the 10th anniversary of aviation SMS programs as a cohesive whole of a solidified, official international package. The aviation SMS program is somewhat a combination of philosophy, framework, methodology, toolset, and approach towards safety. What is also vibrant is the fact that the SMS not only works as a long-term plan for future safety in the aviation sector but also in other fields as well.

Most of the modern ideologies included in the aviation SMS programs are concepts borrowed from the safety systems of the 1960s and 1970s. Put differently, SMS borrowed from other management systems such as the Quality Management System (QMS) of the 9000 Series as well as the Environmental Management System (EMS) of the 14000 Series. As literature proves today, there are many similarities and overlaps between the structure of aviation SMS and QMS. According to Rodrigues and Cusick (2011), the modern aviation SMS concepts are parallel in approach towards the achievement of similar goals of the ISO-9000. The two displays a similarity in structure, their documentation plus the process of achieving their respective goals. In the 80s several aviation authorities such as those in New Zealand, Australia, and the European Joint Aviation Authority (which is currently EASA) made it mandatory that their quality management systems include oversite of accident prevention programs. Prior to this, a reactionary model was embraced for the standard safety. This was to wait for an accident to occur, investigate its cause then make corrections to avoid reoccurrence. In the light of this, it is correct to mention that the principles of QMS of preparation by coming up with a quality system were the inspiration for the SMS concept of hazard identification and risk management.

Fast forward to a decade back when aviation authorities started to incorporate safety oversights in their management of hazards. The 1995 aviation safety summit attended by over 900 representatives from airline companies, regulators, unions, and other aviation groups became a turning point for SMS. Stolzer, et al. (2011) mentions that it is in 1995 that aviation SMS emerged as a discipline on its own. The authors further says that David Hinson, the FAA administrator worked to achieve the goal of no accident. He incorporated a 'proactive approach,' that is projecting forward with common goals. In the meeting, 540 issues were identified, the FAA created an Aviation Safety Action Plan Implemented. The difference that emerged here was the abolition of the reactive approach, that is based on standards of past accidents to a proactive approach that applied standards on current plan and future goals. This is the approach that to date has become the logical step in the current aviation SMS programs. The concern is precursors for an event, that is identifying risk before they materialize.

Safety Management System and Their Value in Creating of Positive Safety Culture

The reason Safety Management Systems are necessary and useful in the creation and maintenance of a positive safety culture is related to the guidelines towards the achievement of safety that it provides. The ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) has been on the frontline of issues of safety in the airline. The organization has the Safety Management System framework applicable internationally that all members of the body abide by. The ICAO SMS program has four pillars that when implemented and followed to the word helps in fostering and creating a positive safety culture based on the value of creating a proactive and predictive program.

According to Oster Jr, et al. (2013), the Safety, Policy, and Objectives is the first pillar of the SMS. Oster Jr, et al. mentions that there are five critical elements of this pillar that make it useful. In the first place is Management, Commitment, and Responsibility. Applying this to the aviation industry setting, it is the senior management that is tasked with control of safe and efficient operations. They are responsible for creating policies that management will provide and disseminate to the employee. This couples up safety reporting methods, and unacceptable operation behavior. The accountability executive has the responsibility of managing SMS in the organization. The second element is Safety Accountabilities. Here, the burden for safety is in the hands of all members of the management and not solely the safety department. The officials from each department of the organization will be accountable for matters of safety in their department. If the reward-punishment model is employed here, managers and workers will be motivated to observe safety. The third element is Appointment of key safety personnel. This is the selection of a safety manager to review the daily management of SMS in the organization. The fourth element is the Coordination of Emergency response planning. Every aviation firm requires an emergency response planning that spells out the actions to be taken in case of an emergency and who should handle the occurrence. It is crucial to have yearly emergency drills to access the expertise of the relevant personnel in case of a real emergency scenario. By this other factor that stretches beyond incidents and accidents are addressed. These include failures, workplace violence, natural disasters, and bomb threats. This is the responsibility that is classically bestowed on the airline safety department. Lastly, SMS documentation is another crucial element. SMS manual can facilitate proper documentation. This is a priority that can come handy in future.

The second pillar of aviation SMS is the Safety Risk Management. No one offers a better explanation of this pillar than Li, et al. (2015). According to the author, Safety Risk Management is basically the thoughtful and thorough acknowledgment and management of potential hazards at an earlier time. Engrossed in safety, control of threats describes all the operational processes across all the departments within the organization. In addition, a risk management system should seek to identify the major hazards and quantify them to assess risk and implement controls. This is an issue that the organization ought to pursue and perfect. Three basic management strategies, reactive, proactive, and predictive are used in the analysis. Li, et al. further identifies two elements of this pillar. The first one is the identification of the hazard. Hazard denotes anything that can cause harm like chemicals and sharp objects. There are five types of workplace hazards like materials, equipment, people, the environment, and system. With hazard identification, a proactive approach is adopted in the management of risks. Danger can be identified by walking around. With this procedure, safety issues are determined using the sense of touch, sight, and hearing. This proactive method can help in the prevention of future accidents. The other element is Risk Assessment and Mitigation. Following the identification of a hazard, the risk needs evaluation. The risk is the possibility of someone getting harmed by a danger with the inclusion of the degree of seriousness of the harm. The best evaluation method is the risk matrix that measures the probability of occurrence of an event. Here the organization can asses risk and decide on precautions or controls.

The third pillar of SMS is the Safety Assurance which has three essential elements. The first element is Safety Performance Monitoring and Measurement. This is achievable by measuring the indicators that allow for performance monitoring. Second is the Management of Change. This element abides by a couple of principles. They include; identification, request, need, education, and implementation CITATION Ost13 \l 1033 (Oster Jr, et al., 2013). Predictive risk management uses the proactive approach in the analysis and forecast of future hazards. In other words, this approach employs the beforehand mentioned change principles in risk predictions. The thirds and final element are Continuous Improvements of the SMS. It is indispensable to gauge the performance of already placed systems even in the presence of efficient SMS. The reason for this is to avoid the end user from being self-satisfied and the destruction of safety knowledge and skills.

The fourth and the last pillar of SMS is the Safety Promotion. This pillar appeals to the aviation sector as it continuously promotes safety as a core value in an organization. The first and perhaps the crucial stage in the development of a safety culture in an organization is the establishment of justice. To expound on this, reference is on a just culture that incorporates a system of shared accountability where the organization is responsible for the process design and safe system whereas the employees are responsible for their behavior and safe choices. This makes the organization safe from the blame for the occurrence of accidents. This pillar equally has two elements. First is training and education with the requirement that all aviation firms ought to come up with and maintain a safety training program. By this, the organization will be sure of the competency of their workers in carrying out SMS responsibilities. To add, the training should be designed in a way that the focus on the personnel responsibilities. Moreover, there is a need for the training to be recurrent...

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A Fully Implemented Safety Management System (SMS) Aids an Aviation Organization in The Creation and Maintenance of a Positive Safety Culture. (2022, Jul 18). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/a-fully-implemented-safety-management-system-sms-aids-an-aviation-organization-in-the-creation-and-maintenance-of-a-positive-safety-culture

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