SMS Element 5 of Safety Policy & Objectives

SMS Documentation

An airline or airport's SMS program must be comprehensively and accurately documented. All policies, goals and objectives, duties and responsibilities of key safety personnel, policies and procedures that make up the SMS program will need to be documented. SMS documentation is typically consolidated into an SMS manual or in other operations manuals or electronic database system. Ensure staff members know how to access this SMS documentation.

Compliance is indicated when:

  • There is documentation that describes the safety management system and the interrelationships between all of its elements;
  • SMS documentation is regularly reviewed and updated with appropriate version control in place;
  • SMS documentation is readily available to all personnel; and
  • SMS documentation details and references the means for the storage of other SMS related records.

Airlines and airports will typically include these SMS components and elements in their SMS documentation:

  • Document and records management;
  • Regulatory SMS requirements ;
  • Framework, scope and integration;
  • Safety policies and procedures;
  • Safety goals and objectives ;
  • Accountabilities of key safety personnel ;
  • Voluntary hazard reporting system;
  • Incident reporting and investigation procedures;
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment processes;
  • Safety performance indicators;
  • Safety training and communication;
  • Continuous improvement;
  • SMS auditing procedures and results;
  • Management of change; and
  • Emergency response planning;

Record management is also included in the SMS documentation requirements. These records may include:

  • Hazards report register and samples of actual reports;
  • Safety performance indicators and related charts;
  • Record of completed or in-progress safety assessments;
  • SMS internal review or audit records;
  • Safety promotion records, such as surveys and newsletters;
  • Personnel SMS/ safety training records;
  • SMS/ Safety committee meeting minutes;
  • SMS implementation plan (during implementation process); etc 

This element is satisfied when the SMS program is facilitated by the accountable executive and there is an identified structure of key safety personnel from the various operational areas. Department heads are actively and visibly involved in the SMS program.


SMS Pro modules used to support this requirement


Best Practices

  • Safety management processes are integrated into existing organizational manuals;
  • SMS documentation is online and accessible to all employees with appropriate permissions; and
  • The organization has analyzed and uses the most appropriate medium for the delivery of documentation at both the corporate and operational levels.