Read Dave's Professional Pilot article in the March 2013 edition about how to implement a Safety Management System below, or at the Pro Pilot website.
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Time to Get Onboard Dave Hewitt President, Hewitt and Company LLC; Air Charter Safety Foundation Board
this stuff about SMS has been floating around for a few years now. You have looked at some of the PhD level
documents that would easily fill the belly of a large cargo jet, and have
thought: I can’t do this its crazy and too much work and I can’t figure out how
to do it anyway and it will cost a fortune and the boss will kill me if I spend
money on this and what good will it do and anyway we haven’t crashed an
airplane yet…. You are not alone, but
you may soon be.
a lot of gyrating around, the SMS concept is finally starting to take hold, and
operators are finding that while it can be a painful process to get started,
some benefits are slowly becoming apparent.
On your favorite smartphone, as the saying goes, you have an app for
that. Now, when it comes to managing
safety, your company has a process for that!
That's really the starting point.
step one – write down what you do (pictures are allowed, and in most cases,
preferred). This can seem to be a
daunting task, but as all of us know, the elephant is best eaten and digested
in small bites. Make it easy on
yourself, start with something you know well, write down or draw a picture
(flowchart) of how you do it, and voila, you have a process! Don’t get wrapped around the axle initially
about every little detail – start with something. Recognize that your SMS will be constantly evolving
and when you become that expert you always wanted to be, you can add the nit-noid
step two – are you doing what you wrote down?
This is the fun part – really.
Now that you wrote down what you do (process), is that what your company
is actually doing? This part tends to be
one of the biggest benefits of the SMS juggernaut – it will force you to really
understand what's going on, and I bet you will find opportunities to increase
the efficiencies of your business – also called dollars.
step three – can somebody else tell that you are doing what you wrote down? Now that you have done all this work, don’t
start drinking your own bath water. This
is where the real value of those pesky third-party audits can be realized. If an independent auditor can come into your
company, look at your manuals (including those processes) and actually tell you
are doing them, you should then get a big smile on your face because you have
likely increased both the safety of your company and your bottom line.
step four – is safety stuff so ingrained in your company that no one can tell
you are doing safety stuff? This sounds
a bit silly, but this is the ultimate goal.
Everyone in your company is following the processes, recommending improvements,
looking at the information and data provided, recognizing hazards before they
hurt anyone, looking left-right-left before pulling out into traffic, and
braking for squirrels. Safety nirvana
has come and you are the architect!
some of this is a bit tongue in cheek, we have an immense responsibility every
time we commit aviation. We do aviation
extremely well, which is why SMS is so vital to our collective futures. Fortunately, we don’t crash much, so we need
to take advantage of that and get to the point where we can stop accidents
before they happen - which is exactly what SMS is all about. So roll up your sleeves, grab a cup of
coffee, and get on board!