The transition to a Safety Management System (SMS) approach to aviation safety has been well underway since 2002 and is now mandatory for the majority of states and aviation service providers all around the world. In the 1990's the term "organisational accident" emerged in formal recognition that most of the factors that lead to accidents are under the control of the organisation rather than "individuals". Since the greatest threats to aviation safety are embedded within organisations, preventing accidents requires organisational action. Safety Management Systems (SMS) represent a systems approach to safety management within organisations and the need for a systems approach to aviation safety has been recognised for some time.
SMS is a systematic, explicit, and comprehensive approach to reducing threats to aviation safety embedded in organisations. It provides for goal setting, planning, and performance measuring in an organisational context. It integrates operations and technical systems with financial and human resources. It concerns itself with organisational safety and when properly understood and implemented it becomes woven into the fabric of the organisational culture and the way people do their jobs.
SMS provides an organisation with the ability to anticipate and address safety issues before they lead to an incident or accident. An SMS can reduce losses and improve productivity. A key feature of an SMS is that it holds line managers accountable for safety-related action or inaction compared to a traditional approach which relegated responsibility for safety to a staff position.
New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (NZCAA) has recently implemented Rule Part 100 which requires organisations holding maintenance and manufacturing certificates to implement and become certificated as having a Safety Management System (SMS) in place.
The SMS rules require most commercial aviation organisations to implement a risk management system in the form of a SMS. Use of a SMS can be generally interpreted as applying a quality management approach to control safety risks. Similar to other management functions, safety management requires planning, organising, communicating and providing direction. Since its establishment in 1992, Oceania Aviation has put in years of diligent effort, and received maintenance, manufacturing and supply certification from various certification bodies, including the New Zealand CAA, EASA and SAI Global. In late August and early September, Oceania Aviation Group took part in the SMS Certification audit conducted by the NZCAA and was successfully completed.
Oceania Aviation has adopted the ICAO Safety Management System (SMS) framework. To ensure the effectiveness of safety management, Oceania Aviation established the 13 essential elements of an aviation safety management system (as derived from ICAO Annex 19 and Safety Management Manual Doc 9859 and supplemented by the CAA’s AC-100-1 Advisory Circular). Safety management has also been incorporated into our organisational behaviour and internalised as part of our corporate safety culture. An Oceania Aviation “Safety & Quality Manual Suite” has been created in accordance with the spirit of SMS to explicitly set the safety policy and targets for each level of management. This ensures the meeting of our corporate safety goals and their implementation in all current standard operating procedures.
Oceania Aviation SMS will be subject to routine CAA surveillance to verify that the SMS’s capability and performance is maturing towards ‘operating’ and ‘effective’. Therefore, Oceania Aviation Health, Safety & Quality (HSQ) Department uses an ongoing monitoring to obtain assurance of the organisation’s safety management capability and its ability to deliver on its safety performance objectives. We believe continuous improvement can occur only when the organisation displays constant vigilance regarding the effectiveness of its technical operations and its corrective actions. Indeed, without ongoing monitoring of safety controls and mitigation actions, there is no way of telling whether the safety management process is achieving its objectives. Similarly, there is no way of measuring if an SMS is fulfilling its purpose with efficiency.