Nearly 300 airports across the country will soon face implementing a Safety Management System (SMS) – an FAA-backed, top-down, organization-wide approach to managing safety risk and assuring the effectiveness of safety risk controls.
In the latest issue of Airport Business, RS&H SMS discipline lead Ken Ibold discusses the latest details of FAA’s roll-out of SMS.
“This is all about making safety a standard part of airport operations,” said Ibold. “Airports are already highly regulated and are extremely safe environments. But the goal of the FAA programs is to anticipate safety challenges before an accident happens rather than react to an accident by altering processes in order to not let them happen again.”
Under the proposal, these airports would develop and implement processes and procedures to proactively identify hazards and mitigate unacceptable risk. In addition to safety risk assessment and management, the proposal would require these airports to also deploy confidential hazard reporting systems, provide training and orientation programs, and offer enhanced safety communications. Together, these elements form the building blocks to support an organizational culture that values safe practices.
“An SMS plan is intended to not only reduce the probability of aircraft accidents/incidents on the airfield, but also help protect workers, passengers and visitors by creating a culture that values safe practices,” Ibold added. “It can be designed to integrate into the safety programs that airports may already have in place.”