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Safety Newsletters - Aviation SMS Software Modules for Airlines & Airports

Safety Promotion Modules

Introduction to Safety Newsletters for Safety Promotion Activities

A safety newsletter is essential to spreading safety promotion activities. They come in various styles and the content may range from existing safety concerns within the company or a particular event that happened in the industry.

Your safety newsletter reflects the safety commitment of the organization, starting from the top. With this in mind, it is recommended that each safety newsletter contains a short statement from the accountable executive. His statement should make references to the implementation of your safety management system, and perhaps the progress made.

To create a safety newsletter, the safety manager, or someone the safety manager delegates the task to, must understand the purpose and ultimate goals of a well-crafted safety newsletter.

SMS Pro has always had a very good newsletter tool designed for safety promotion activities. Not everyone uses the newsletter functionality. This is a shame, because you can educate the masses with an entertaining, well-crafted newsletter.

Purpose of an Aviation SMS Safety Newsletter

Your safety newsletter is a communication tool of your safety department and should be used to disseminate information to your stakeholders, which include employees, managers, suppliers, vendors, contractors and tenants (if applicable). Your safety newsletter helps form a bond of community and keeps stakeholders informed of planned safety training and activities. Your safety newsletter may also serve as a great tool to break down those strong barriers to change.

The safety manager is beset with a huge change management task. With top management support, the safety manager must convince the entire organization that your aviation SMS implementation is here to stay and "this is the way we do business." The safety newsletter is a highly underutilized tool.

You may want to have the number of issues printed annually as a key safety performance indicator. For example, if you published six safety newsletters last year, you may consider setting an objective of publishing twelve next year. These safety objectives may be part of your strategy to increase awareness and reduce resistance to change to your aviation safety management system.

What Is a Safety Newsletter?

Your safety newsletter will be a document (electronic or paper-based) that serves many purposes, including:

  • Informing
  • Announcing
  • Reminding
  • Instructing

Your safety newsletter does not need to be a Charles Dickens masterpiece. It should always be a short document that contains specific information about organizational safety goals and  activities. It may also contain content related to industry-wide safety activities, hazards, incidents or accidents with the goal of increasing awareness.

To be most effective, your safety newsletter should be visually appealing and make your stakeholders read it without laying it down. Once it has been put down, it is rare the reader will revisit the newsletter. Therefore, we recommend that the newsletter be kept short and concise.

If you are announcing special safety training or routine safety meetings, you should write the articles in a way that will make the readers want to attend and participate. Again, keep your articles short, neat, accurate and impartial. Leave out the office politics, as this is not the relevant media for office politics. You need to maintain a high degree of credibility within the organization.

Safety newsletters are great tools to discuss your SMS implementation. Discuss your long range goals and short term plans to reach these goals. Get the accountable executve involved to add credibility and to demonstrate the CEO commitment to safety. Your newsletter should also contain a schedule for safety meetings, safety training, and other safety related events that may be hosted outside the organization.

Why Should an Aviation SMS Use Safety Newsletters?

Your safety newsletter is need to communicate safety related information to all your stakeholders. Not all stakeholders may have access to your aviation safety management software, such as vendors, contractors and tentants. In this case, they won't have access to the Message Board and other internal communication tools. Your safety newsletter helps ensure that all your stakeholders are aware of your SMS implementation plans and schedule for implementing the necessary elements.

Who Prepare the Safety Newsletter?

We recommend that either the safety manager or the assistant to the safety manager creates the safety newsletter. The writer must have access to the accountable executive to get the required feedback and cooperation with communicating top management's safety messages. When safety managers "create top management safety messages," it is a best practice to get approval before putting words into top management's mouth.

How Are Safety Newsletters Prepared?

We recommend that you find a newsletter template that works for your company. Each company has a culture different from the next, but there are many standard newsletter templates that can be borrowed. There is no sense in re-inventing the wheel.

Your safety newsletter should be no more than 2 pages. Remember, you want them to be able to read it at one setting. If you have poor content that does not excite the reader, then you can have the prettiest safety newsletter, but nobody will bother reading it the second time around.

We recommend that you use MS Word to create your safety newsletter. You can save the draft newsletter to your hard drive until you are ready to publish, whether by email or by hard copy.

We recommend that you use the company logo and put a catchy name to your "Fancy Aviation Safety Newsletter." Don't forget to put a date on the top and optionally an issue number. These issue numbers will help when you document your issues for the safety report. Did you just say document for the safety report? Yes, the number of safety newsletters you publish may be considered as a key safety performance indicator.

At least one article each issue should focus on an employee or a contractor of special notice. When employees and other readers see their names in the newsletter, they can relate to the safety newsletter. This becomes "news" that has a personal touch. Items of note may be users completing specialized safety training, or awards for creative thinking regarding safety concerns.

When Are Safety Newsletters Published?

Safety newsletters published once per month should be adequate in most cases. When a particular event occurs that can serve as a lesson learned, then you may seize the opportunity to publish out of sequence. These special safety announcements should not interfere with the regular schedule of safety newsletters. Quarterly newsletters may not keep your users actively engaged in the "safety process." One major goal is to instruct and generate safety awareness. If  you publish quarterly, employees may soon forget your message and purpose.

How Are Safety Newsletters Distributed?

The easiest and least expensive way to distribute you safety newsletter is by using the built in Newsletter module in SMS Pro. SMS Pro has many Safety Promotion tools to save you time and money, and the Newsletter module is no exception. Another great idea to deliver the newsletter is to do it during routine safety meeting, safety committee meetings and managerial meetings. You may also consider posting safety newsletters on the bulletin boards that you external stakeholders have access to.

Sources of Information

http://www.usda.org/trifold/IS02503.pdf
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NOAA Aviation Safety Newsletter (old, but good examples)

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