Implementing SMS with aviation safety management software - Policy


Safety policy

Since November 2006, the International Civil Aviation Organisation has required member states to make the implementation of safety management systems that comply with ICAO standards and recommended practices mandatory for aviation organisations.

The first of these four components
, safety policy, enables aviation organisations to establish and implement a procedural framework in which roles, responsibilities, authority and accountability can be established in order to implement safety management at all levels and in all areas of the organisation.

What is safety policy?

By establishing roles, responsibilities, authority and accountability to manage safety effectively, an organisation can develop and encourage safety as the core of every aspect of its activities and actions.

Safety policy itself, then, can be broken down into four elements:


  1. Procedural frameworks
  1. Roles, responsibilities and relationships
  1. Executive management involvement
  1. Safety and quality


  1. Procedural frameworks

Within an SMS, having first established safety policies and objectives, organisations must then develop procedures from them to enable their implementation.

Organisations must also put controls in place to monitor safety-related activities and actions. Such controls ensure that procedures can be carried out in compliance with safety policies and objectives.

An integrated SMS solution enables management to give appropriate staff on-demand access to relevant, accurate information at the point of need.

With an integrated solution that incorporates a comprehensive document management system
, organisations can ensure that SMS policies and procedures are up-to-date and directly available.


  1. Roles, responsibilities and relationships

A critical element of any safety oversight system is the publication and distribution of regulations, standards and policies to ensure that safety risk can be managed effectively.

As well as a centralised system to manage documents, an integrated SMS solution enables the effective management of policy change from initial request through drafting, approval, distribution and publishing, as well as ensuring the availability of policy and procedure documentation across the organisation through secure web-based access.

By automating the change request process, an integrated SMS solution can enable all staff to raise changes against controlled documentation at each and every stage of the document management process.

By automatically identifying staff impacted by changes to safety and quality policies, an integrated solution can enable the scheduling of relevant procedure-based training.


  1. Executive management involvement

Having established safety policy and objectives, executive management must also define the organisation’s expectations of staff at all levels and in all areas.

As well as ensuring that staff know and understand their responsibilities, executive management must encourage them to participate in activities relating to safety. To ensure the effectiveness of safety controls, management must plan, organise, direct, and control safety-related activities and actions.


  1. Safety and quality

A vital aspect of safety management is maintaining and improving process quality, particularly where activities and actions impact on safety. As well as specifying the definition of safety and quality policies, SMS recommends that aviation organisations integrate both management systems wherever possible.

In addition, extending an existing SMS to encompass the requirements of additional management systems, including information security, operational security and risk enables aviation organisations to adopt an integrated approach to safety management.


Establishing safety policy effectively

With SMS an international regulatory requirement since 2006, establishing safety policy effectively at all levels and in all areas of the organisation is of paramount importance for aviation organisations.


The effective establishment of safety policy is vital to successfully implementing SMS that comply with ICAO and local States’ regulations and contribute to the continual improvement of safety and quality throughout the organisation.


With an integrated SMS solution developed around the four components of safety management, organisations can put into place a robust and scalable framework that supports the effective establishment of safety policy and the implementation of an SMS.

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