The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have new aviation Safety Management System (SMS) rules soon to be formally implemented (Part 100 Safety Management), which may mean a bit of change for many operators in the aviation industry.

To meet these requirements necessitates a good practice SMS approach. Aviation businesses must have a well-defined and functioning set of company-wide systems and processes as part of their standard framework. This provides for effective, risk-based decision making that improves the overall safety of the business.

It needs to be well documented, communicated to relevant parties, and be actively maintained. This allows for maximised opportunity to continuously improve the overall SMS and its operational application.

Common requirements within an SMS include systems and processes for:

  • Open reporting of events such as incidents, near miss, and hazards, supported by a just culture approach
  • Hazard identification or risk management integrated as a standard part of the planning and execution of tasks
  • Well defined responsibilities for all levels including a specific focus on visible leadership
  • Clear safety objectives backed up by robust performance monitoring and reporting processes
  • Assurance functions such as audit, investigations, corrective and preventative actions to aid in the continuous improvement process
  • Good planning including routine management and system review functions
  • Safety training, education and ongoing promotion
  • Emergency preparedness, response planning, training, and review


Aviation safety management system SMS NZ - Intesafety

Along with meeting good practice requirements, the scope and complexity of the SMS must be developed or scaled to suit the risk profile and size of the business. Simply complying with legislative requirements may not be enough to manage the specific risks involved in your business.

For this reason, Intesafety always scopes out the business risks using a broad-brush risk assessment which then underpins the development of the tailored SMS.

For many operators in the aviation industry, implementing a SMS may not be a new initiative.

The aviation industry has always had a strong quality management system focus and has had a good level of regulatory oversight. While many operators will do some of these SMS functional requirements already, this new change represents a good opportunity to have a re-think about existing SMS and potentially develop and integrate systems further.

SMS is great for the business

Overall, aviation operators with a good functioning SMS will know it is great for their business.

From many years of experience working in the Australian aviation industry, we know that a good functioning SMS:

  • Ensures that your workers are making safe decisions
  • Ensures that safety conscious behaviours become the norm, i.e. “safety management is just the way we do business around here”
  • Translates into a positive safety culture
  • Means that less unwanted events occurr

In addition to keeping your workers and customers safe, it also creates a lot of efficiencies for the business. You do things smarter, often quicker, and there is less risk of damage to equipment. And of course, workers having the right mindsets and attitudes also reflects a good safety culture.

What do I need to do?

For aviation businesses, these new rules may mean a step change in maturity is required. You will have to further develop your SMS and workers’ understanding of these new requirements. During this process you must ensure you have committed leadership, good practice systems, worker participation and communication to ensure your SMS is easy to use.

At Intesafety we can partner with you on this journey. Our experienced partners have been through this process many times with a range of different businesses and understand what the journey involves for aviation providers.

We can help manage your data by being smarter with centralisation, so you can easily provide oversight and look for ‘hot spots’ or emerging trends in the business. To achieve this, we have partnered with an INX software HSQ solution called InControl – which is configured specially for the aviation industry.

You can benefit from our experience and we can help shape the correct mindset and understanding for your leaders and workers. We develop workable systems in line with good practice and through our software partner INX, make your SMS add real value to your business.

Contact us today.

Written by Aaron Neighbours, Intesafety General Manager and Principal Health & Safety Partner

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