Tools to Manage Safety in Aviation Industry
As defined above, a safety management system is a set of processes and tools to manage safety and mitigate risk to an acceptable level. The most popular tool is Document 9859. Other tools to manage safety in the aviation industry include:
- Safety training videos;
- Risk management methodologies;
- Document management software;
- Learning management systems;
- Training article libraries; and
- Survey tools.
Every operator has certain elements of a safety management system to manage operational risks. What most lack is the structure or processes of a formal system that is based on best practices. Most operators a "system" in place to manage operational activities, such as:
- Asset management software;
- Maintenance management software;
- Crew scheduling software; and
- Accounting software.
A problem exists when an operator tries to manage individual elements in different existing systems. They soon learn that they have a data management nightmare because their SMS is being managed in six different systems. When operators have more than 40 employees or in companies with high employee turnover, an SMS database is required to manage the many SMS documentation requirements. Spreadsheets have been tried MANY times over the past twelve years with very poor results.
Related Aviation SMS Database Articles
Safety Management System Unique to Operators
There is a tendency for operators to use existing system to initially manage SMS requirements. Based on empirical evidence, companies will use their existing tools to manage safety requirements for approximately four to six years. They soon learn that their in-house approach requires more:
to effectively manage all the SMS elements.Between years four and six of their SMS implementation, operators look for a safety management software system to address the requirements.
Not all operators need the same safety management system. Their needs vary depending on multiple factors, including:
- Size of company;
- Goals and objectives relating to SMS;
- Complexity of company operations; and
- Maturity of SMS program (which phase they are in).