Update Jan 2011 – This website is a resource for stakeholders to obtain information about ECAST efforts in the area of Safety Management and to support organisations wishing to implement a Safety Management System. It is emphasised that these best practice materials have no legal status: they are neither Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) nor Guidance Materials (GM) but were developed to support the industry in complying with future regulatory requirements. As the final content of legal requirements regarding SMS is still to be determined it may be necessary to substantially adjust the related support material when the final wording is decided.
The work was divided in four Work Packages in areas where guidance was considered as most useful:
- SMS/Safety Culture initiatives and materials
- Safety Culture framework for ECAST SMS WG
- Identify best practices and examples of organisations
- Guidance on Hazard Identification
- Guidance on operational Risk Assessment
SMS International Collaboration Group (ICG)
For more information on the EASA Rulemaking activites realted to SMS, visit the Flight Standards website.
REVIEW OF SMS INITIATIVES AND MATERIALS
Safety management implies a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organisational structure, accountabilities, policies and procedures. The objective of safety management in the aviation industry is to prevent human injury or loss of life, and to avoid damage to the environment and to property. A large number of documentation is available online.
SKYbrary, developed by EUROCONTROL aims at developing a comprehensive source of aviation safety information and making it available to users worldwide. The web-portal is becoming a point of reference for aviation safety knowledge. A list of current SMS related initiatives and materials can be found on the ‘Safety Management’ page of SKYbrary website: Safety Management and Safety Culture.
SAFETY CULTURE FOR THE ECAST SMS-WG
This document provides guidance to organisations on the concept of Safety Culture. While no requirements regarding Safety Culture are included in the EASA rules on organisation and accountabilities within a Safety Management System (NPA 2008-22c) or in the Acceptable Means of Compliance, the concept of ‘culture of safety’ is promoted in the recital of (EC) 216/2008, the Basic Regulation of EASA.
Also, the ECAST SMS Working Group is convinced that an SMS cannot be effective without an appropriate Safety Culture. Therefore, this document provides guidance to organisations in understanding the concept of Safety Culture and assessing Safety Culture in their own organisation
The guidance on Safety Culture provided in this document is based on a synthesis by the NLR [Montijn and de Jong] of the main Safety Culture concepts and best practices described in literature and of the most recent developments in this field. It is aimed at all organisations bearing a responsibility for safety in aviation.
The following definition of Safety Culture is provided:
Safety Culture is the set of enduring values and attitudes regarding safety issues, shared by every member of every level of an organisation. Safety Culture refers to the extent to which every individual and every group of the organisation is aware of the risks and unknown hazards induced by its activities; is continuously behaving so as to preserve and enhance safety; is willing and able to adapt itself when facing safety issues; is willing to communicate safety issues; and consistently evaluates safety related behaviour.
To support the assessment and management of Safety Culture, the six main components (called Characteristics) of Safety Culture are described:
The various types of aviation organisations (airlines, ATC, airports, MROs, CAA’s, etc.) each have their own specific organisational structure, processes and operational environment. These domain-specific circumstances necessitate a domain-specific approach to Safety Culture. For this reason, the paper provides guidance on how the Characteristics may be assessed though the use of domain-specific questions. This approach allows for a domain-specific assessment and management of Safety Culture based on a framework that is common to all organisations bearing a responsibility for aviation safety.
By adopting the definition and main components of Safety Culture described in this paper, a common understanding and language of Safety Culture is established. This will facilitate the ability of different types of organisations to communicate about Safety Culture, to learn from each other, and to work on safety culture together.
In addition, the ECAST GSWG worked on the Aircraft Ground Handling and Human Factor aspects. The following reports were published:
- Aircraft Ground Handling and Human Factors – NLR final report
- Just culture and human factors training in ground service providers – NLR-TR-2010-431
The objective of this study was to investigate the causal factors which lead to human errors during the ground handling process, creating unsafe situations, personal accidents or incidents.
GUIDANCE ON ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURES
This document provides a practical guidance to organisations on appropriate organisational structures to comply with EASA rules on organisation and accountabilities within a Safety Management System.
The proposed draft rule and Acceptable Means of Compliance (NPA 2008-22c) have been reviewed, commercial airline operators were surveyed, and relevant published literature on the subject was also identified and reviewed.
The operator survey produced a very small number of responses (nine in total). The small sample size doesn’t give a high degree of confidence in the results, although the sample did cover a variety of types of operator. It was concluded that most organisations did have the ultimate accountability for safety resting with the Accountable Manager, which in some cases was the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operating Officer. The safety departments were also generally organised separately from operational delivery. However, there appeared to be a general lack of formal arrangements for communications between the safety department and the Accountable Manager, and very few respondents appeared to have a fully functioning risk management programme.
A variety of relevant published literature sources were identified and a précis of each of the following sources is provided in the document:
- International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
- United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA)
- International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Australia
- Transport Canada
Six guiding principles are proposed and these can be summarised as follows:
Full safety accountability should reside at the Top of the organisation, i.e. the Accountable Executive (e.g. Chief Executive Officer).
The Accountable Executive (AE) should be supported by an independent Safety Support Function which operates with the full authority of the AE.
Individuals within the Safety Support Function should have respect and influence.
There should be formal communications from the AE to the Safety Support Function.
Actions necessary to support the SMS should be managed throughout the organisation.
Safety accountabilities and responsibilities should be documented and understood by the incumbents.
GUIDANCE ON HAZARDS IDENTIFICATION
Safety risk assessment is one of the functions in a Safety Management System and an important element of safety risk assessment is the identification of hazards.
A hazard can be considered as a dormant potential for harm which is present in one form or another within the aviation system or its environment. This potential for harm may be in the form of a natural hazard such as terrain, or a technical hazard such as wrong runway markings.
This document develops the concept of ‘the hazard’ within a safety risk management framework which also defines risk, safety events, undesirable events, outcomes, consequences and risk controls (barriers or mitigations).
The basic concepts behind hazard identification methodologies (data-driven and qualitative) are described. It is acknowledged however that it is difficult to declare completeness of a hazards identification process, and hence hazard identification should be periodically reviewed.
Moreover, it is further recognised that the aviation system involves a complex interaction between technical and human-centred sub-systems operated by a wide range of different stakeholders (Airlines, Airports, ANSP and MRO etc.). Each organisation should manage the hazards that fall within their managerial control, but should also co-operate with other stakeholders to help manage interactions and interfaces.
A number of specific tools and techniques for hazards identification are summarised and their advantages and disadvantages noted.
Another key step in the safety risk assessment process is safety assessment documentation and the use of Hazard Logs to document the output of hazards identification is also described and an example hazard log template provided.
Some examples of hazards and information sources that could be used to identify hazards are also provided as annexes.
GUIDANCE ON OPERATIONAL RISK ASSESMENT
The Airlines Risk Management Solutions (ARMS) Working Group was created and tasked to produce a useful and cohesive Operational Risk Assessment method for airlines and other aviation organisations. Risk assessment is one of the most challenging part of the risk management process.
Methodology for Operational Risk Assessment for Aviation Organisations:
- The ARMS document – the complete description of the Methodology with examples
- ARMS Quick Reference Guide – the one-page Summary for your daily reference
- Excel tool for Safety Issue Risk Assessment (SIRA) – the practical SIRA tool
In addition to the methods for Risk Assessment, the ARMS Methodology will foster increased cooperation between organisations using ARMS. Customising the Methodology to the specific needs of an organisation is addressed in the ARMS documentation, above all in chapter 5, which is dedicated to customisation. The material is freely available, but when used in any publication, presentation, software or alike, full reference must be made back to the original ARMS work.
Disclaimer: The ARMS methodology is considered as best practice by ECAST. ARMS however is not the sole methodology usable for risk assessment. All organisations remain fully responsible for their own safety performance. Therefore, the ARMS Working Group, its members and supporting organisations do not accept any responsibility for any harm or damages of any kind, relating to the use of the ARMS Methodology or its parts.
*Disclaimer: EASA hosts the ECAST best practice materials on Safety Management Systems on the EASA web-domain for information purposes only. Ultimately it is ECAST that is responsible for the contents and the Agency makes no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. To the extent permitted by law, the Agency shall not be liable for any kind of damages or other claims or demands incurred as a result of incorrect, insufficient or invalid data, or arising out of or in connection with the use, copying, or display of the best practice materials. The information contained in the best practice materials should in no case be construed as legal advice.