Operational Safety Assurance (ICAO SMS Phase 4)

Aviation safety assurance activities include formal and systematic processes for continuous monitoring and documentation of organizational safety performance. Safety assurance activities also include regular evaluation of safety management policies and procedures.

One effective means of demonstrating continuous improvement in an effective SMS program is through the regular use of gap analysis activities. When aviation companies have an easy tool to chart and graph organizational progress from a routine gap analysis, aviation service providers can incrementally improve safety operations. The gap analysis tool is especially effective when integrated into aviation safety risk management processes.

For civil aviation regulatory authorities, safety assurance activities remains the ultimate means for demonstrating organizational regulatory compliance and showing that effective safety processes are properly implemented and continue to achieve their intended objectives.

ICAO SMS Safety Assurance Activities for Aviation Service Providers


Safety policies and procedures that were developed or modified during the earlier stages of your SMS implementation process should be reviewed on a regular basis. As with most elements of an effective safety management system, "if it is not documented, it did not happen." With this in mind, aviation service providers need a formal documentation process that is not cumbersome to document these periodic reviews and be able to demonstrate these reviews to auditors with ease.

Phase 4 of ICAO's SMS Implementation Plan have these activities:

  • Development safety performance indicators, performance targets, and SMS continuous improvement.
  • Develop training relevant to operational safety assurance.
  • Develop documentation relevant to operational safety assurance.
  • Maintain means for safety communication.

SMS Pro™ has several great tools to assist in safety assurance activities. Continuous monitoring and demonstrating compliance are simple tasks using SMS database products. However, tools are not effective unless they are used.