SMS Manuals have been a great way for SMS consultants to make money for the past several years. An SMS Manual seems to have an undeclared necessity for airlines and airports to prove they have a valid, formal aviation safety management system.
Many operators believe they need an SMS Manual. Since most people don't understand what an SMS manual contains, they hire professional consultants to create their manual.
While an SMS Manual is not required, airlines and airports find that an SMS manual provides a convenient and practical means of collecting their aviation safety policies and procedures. When civil aviation authorities send auditors to an airline and airport, they are commonly reviewing the safety policies and procedures of the operator. Instead of having these policies and procedures strung about helter skelter (an unorganized, poorly structured system), the SMS manual collects the policies and procedures in one centralized document.
An SMS manual is merely an organized document containing a list of safety-related policies and procedures. These policies and procedures outline how your organization will manage the formal aviation safety management system. An SMS manual is a living, breathing document. One should never be concerned about changing an SMS manual when required. This is part of the process. When policies and procedures prove ineffective, they must be changed, approved and accepted. And don't forget to communicate these changes throughout the organization.
Your SMS manual is a convenient document to provide IS-BAO auditors, clients and civil aviation authorities that you have policies that direct employees in a directed manner whenever certain hazards manifest themselves. Whenever isolated accidents or incidents occur, these auditors, clients and investigators are much more likely to not view these events as organizational failures, but as individual incidents. When a policy or procedure does not meet a particular scenario's circumstances, the policy or procedure can be modified, and therefore requiring an update in your SMS Manual.
In most organizations, the safety manager drafts the safety manual. Department heads (upper level managers) review the policies and procedures in the SMS manual and request changes. The airline or airport's accountable executive must review the policies and procedures within the manual. These items are accepted and approved with a signature and date of approval. SMS manuals, just like every safety policy or procedure must be reviewed on a regular basis. In most airlines and airports, these items are reviewed annually.
SMS manuals are usually prepared as a matter of necessity. It is rare that safety managers create safety manuals for the sheer joy of the exercise or for practice. Furthermore, the MS manual must be created specifically for the organization. You should never do a straight copy/paste operation.
SMS manuals are created often when organizations seek new business and the client requires an SMS manual as part of the contract. Another scenario requiring an SMS manual is when foreign countries require the implementation of a formal aviation safety management system. An SMS manual provides a convenient method to prove that your organization has assembled the customary policies and procedures. Of course, there is no way for these organizations to prove that you actually follow these policies and procedures unless they conduct an audit.
Most safety managers start with an SMS manual template to start creating their SMS manual. A sample SMS manual provides the safety manager with a road map on what is typically required in SMS manuals. Without a template, one can easily miss a common policy or procedure required by the civil aviation authority or client.
Another great place to learn what is required in an SMS manual is by reviewing civil aviation authority audit checklists. A gap analysis model or SMS implementation plan model may also provide clues as to which policies and procedures are required in SMS manuals. Finally, there are tools available to create your SMS manual from a template, such as using SMS Pro's SMS Manual Creator. You will find more information as to how to create an SMS manual using SMS Pro farther down in this document.
SMS Manuals Creator
Create SMS Manuals from available templates. Allow users to view your manuals online or export them to HTML and then to PDF.
Share content between manuals. Drag and drop sections to restructure menus and much more. A very sophisticated module for the price.
SMS Manuals Templates Include:
- ICAO SMS Manual
MITRE SMS Manual
Basic Aerodrome SMS Manual
Internal Evaluation Program Manual
SMS Manuals module provides a centralized location for users to access manuals relevant to your operation. SMS Manuals module lies under Policy >> SMS Manuals.
To view manuals, users simply select one from the drop-down list and the selected manual will load onto the page. On the left side of the page, you will find the table of contents tree. Selecting a Chapter or Section will load it onto the page for reading.
If manuals have sub-sections to the chapters or section, you will find a plus sign to expand that particular chapter or section, thus allowing one to view the subsections.
To add or edit a manual, users must possess the safety manager or SMS admin roles. Users with these roles are offered a link in the upper right corner of the page labeled "Manage Manuals." Click this link. You will be directed to the SMS Manuals Manager.
Here, you can:
- Add a manual
- Edit or delete a manual
- Reuse existing manual text in creation of a new manual
- Return to view mode
Manuals selected in View mode will be automatically loaded in the tree to the left while in Edit mode. Selecting a chapter will load it into the editor to the right.
You can drag and drop chapters or sections of the manual to rearrange them. Don’t worry about the order numbering, as this is automatically redone for you after you have placed that chapter or section where you want it.
Right clicking on chapters or subsections in the tree will make more options available for the selected section, such as:
- Add a new section
- Delete it
- Export to HTML
When selecting "Export," the content of this Chapter or Section is rendered as its own web page. You can now select the Print option from your browser (or pressing the ctrl and p keys for most browsers) and print this section. Clicking your browser’s back button will return you to SMS Manuals Manager.
Creating New Manuals
By selecting Add Manual, the SMS Manual Creation Utility popup opens. From here you can select a pre-defined template for your new manual.
Enter the Manual title and a description of the manual. Click the Create Manual button. A thumbs up icon will appear indicating that your manual has been created. Close the window to begin editing the content.
Upon closing the window, an alert may pop up warning that the page will have to be resent, click Ok.
Select the manual that you have just created from the drop-down list in the upper left. If it does not appear in the list, refresh the page by clicking the "SMS Manuals" bread-crumb in the upper left, beneath the menu. Your newly created manual should now appear in the drop-down. Selecting the new manual will load it onto the page for editing.
To begin editing a particular section, select the desired section from the contents tree that appears beneath the drop-down. If content exists, it is loaded into the online word processor immediately to the right of the table of contents.
In the editor box, you can enter content by either typing or using copy/paste functionality.
For best results, don't copy directly from Word or another word processor. If you are starting with a word processor, such as Word, the best approach begins with copy/pasting content from Word into Notepad to remove formatting. Then you can copy/paste from Notepad into the editor textbox.
Below the editor, you will find several options. You can:
- Create a version
- Enter a proposed publication date
- Create an approval deadline; and
- Save sections.
When finished editing sections, select the disk icons on the bottom right to save the active section. In the upper left, you will see a red message indicating that content has been added.
Sources for More Information on SMS Policies & Procedures
Sources of More Information on Safety Policies and Procedures for Airlines and Airports
More Information About SMS Manuals
FAA Safety Management System (SMS) Framework PDF
UK Civil Aviation Authority Operations & Safety
GCAA Advisory Publication CAAP 50 on Safety Management System (SMS) PDF
Australian Government Advisory Circular AC 145-1(0) Draft PDF