A diverse group of aviation associations, companies and regulatory authorities collaborated to develop a new Safety Management System (SMS) standard that is designed to improve safety performance around the globe. SMS is a structured tool to manage safety practices, identify risks and promote a safety culture.
This new standard, available as of Oct. 3, should provide a clear path to implement SMS across supply chains that cross national borders, which is consistent with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Annex 19 “safety management” practices.
While the standard took two years to develop, getting consensus from diverse interests and creating a document that is helpful to a wider stakeholder community—from small to large organizations—was a challenge, says Gilles Fontaine, the SMS standard drafting group chair.
But by gaining feedback and buy-in from this broad group, the SMS standard should “implement key safety measures in a consistent manner up and down the industry, including the supply chain,” says Fontaine.
It also should “facilitate a more efficient and globalized approach to approvals by aviation authorities around the world,” he says.
He says the “concept to develop an industry standard for SMS implementation in design, manufacturing and maintenance organizations was coordinated within five aerospace industry associations in 2015 and presented under the lead of Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD) to the authorities.”
An SMS standard drafting group comprised of ASD member companies and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in the U.S. was established in June 2016 and was expanded in September 2017 by Aerospace Industries Association, Aerospace Industries Association of Brazil and Aerospace Industries Association of Canada member companies, as well as an observer from EASA and FAA.
This diverse group finalized the standard in September and published it on Oct. 3 on sponsoring association’s websites, free of charge.
Like other continuous improvement programs that try to identify problems before they occur, SMS is a proactive system. Because of this, an SMS steering committee comprised of aerospace associations, some ASD member companies and four authorities (ANAC, EASA, FAA and TCCA) will revise the document as needed. It already plans to “further focus on maintenance organization specificities” with more aftermarket organization involvement, says Fontaine.
From companies that already have implemented an SMS program, this new standard includes a “maturity method/tool” designed to make existing programs even more efficient.