• Aerial view of General Mitchell Terminal.
  • Portland Airport terminal.
  • Operations center at Amarillo Airport.

Project Details


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Safety Management Systems

RS&H is a leader in developing Safety Management Systems (SMS) at airports. The FAA has embarked on establishing SMS requirements at Part 139 airports, with a proposed rule that has remained in draft form for years. Airports, however, have found value in the system and many are adopting SMS programs without a regulatory requirement.

Airport SMS programs define a systematic approach to managing risks on and around the airport by documenting hazards and developing ways to mitigate them. The programs outline ways to monitor and measure safety issues, create a safety reporting system for employees and tenants to use, and help create a safety culture in airport operations.

RS&H puts the lessons learned in preparing SMS documents to work on its airport projects because it makes good sense from a safety and risk management standpoint. RS&H has performed SMS services at the following airports, among others:

The Salt Lake City Corporation Department of Airports decided to take a proactive approach toward meeting the future Part 139 Airport SMS rule and selected RS&H to develop an SMS Program for Salt Lake City International Airport. The program was conceived as encompassing the Airport’s movement and non-movement areas, in anticipation of a final FAA rule on SMS implementation. The Airport also requested RS&H examine ways to scale the program to landside operations at a future date, and to build in strategies for making that future expansion.

The project included development and implementation of an enterprise-wide SMS that complied with current and anticipated SMS programs of the FAA Airports division for Part 139 Airports. In addition, the project included SRM components that complied with the SMS programs of both the FAA Airports division and the FAA Air Traffic Organization to allow the Airport to control the SRM process for construction projects. The total program included all elements of SMS, including safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion.

Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport serves the aviation needs of the northwestern panhandle of Texas. The City of Amarillo retained RS&H to design and implement a Safety Management System that would encompass the entire Airport property. The program was designed to be compliant with current and anticipated SMS programs of the FAA Airports division for Part 139 Airports. The Airport wanted to focus on low-cost methodologies for training and hazard tracking, and RS&H developed free-standing video training that allows workers to take the training when applying for and renewing badges. The training program can be displayed on any computer and can be independent of the official badge training process, which increases flexibility.

The Port of Portland had experienced project delays due to the FAA-guided Safety Risk Management process used to screen airfield construction projects. With a series of large airfield and terminal renovation projects in the near future, Portland International Airport hired RS&H as part of a team to develop an SRM Program compliant with the SMS programs of both the FAA Airports Division and the FAA Air Traffic Organization. The program allows the Port to control SRM process for construction projects at Portland International Airport and supply conforming documentation to all FAA divisions in support of construction projects on the airfield. This program was the first of its kind nationwide at a medium-hub airport. The process developed SRMD and Safety Case procedures, documentation, and approval routes.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority selected RS&H to conduct a Safety Management System Implementation Study for Toledo Express Airport as part of the FAA’s 14-airport Part 139 Airport SMS Implementation Study program. The Implementation Study was conducted to examine how the Airport’s pilot SMS plan was working and how effectively the airport was executing the various components of the original SMS plan produced under the earlier pilot program.

RS&H assessed the effectiveness of risk mitigation strategies outlined in the original SMS plan, conducted Safety Risk Assessments, and examined the Airport’s incident reporting system. As a result of the Implementation Study, the Airport revised its software system that tracks incident reports, inspection results and work orders. The Airport also initiated a number of additional procedures intended to improve the safety culture at the airport, including integration of safety briefings into meetings and the delegation of safety responsibilities to multiple Airport operations personnel.