I have a Safety Management System (SMS) problem. My SMS is based on ICAO recommendations and Phase 1 of ICAO's Implementation Plan includes the task, “Describe the System”.
ICAO’s SMS Manual states: “this activity [i.e., the system description] is based upon Element 1.5 of the ICAO SMS framework, and discussed in Chapter 7 of this Manual” [the ICAO Safety Management Manual].
In the many internet searches I have completed about this, I have found more than a few system descriptions for various avionics and air traffic control equipment. ICAO even provides a decent system description” (outline) of an aerodrome” in its Safety Management Manual (Pub. 9859), Appendix 1 to Chapter 7. Another, more complete system description of Bangalore Airport, written by its director also exists elsewhere on the internet. However, I have yet to see mentioned, let alone described, any system description for an air carrier - either scheduled or on-demand. This is mysterious because air carriers are obviously a main target for ICAO’s SMS efforts to increase aviation safety. You'd think the second step in the ICAO SMS process would have an example posted somewhere.
So, does anyone have a system description for an air carrier they could share - or at least point me in the direction of where I might find one? I do NOT want to copy someone else’s system description; I only want to see what one looks like so I can use it as a jumping-off point to develop one for my own company.
Thanks for any help .
Last edited by flingwing1; 19th May 2011 at 09:57.
The great SMS conumdrum. Everyone can take a fair guess at describing safety and management, but in all the volumes of material produced over the last decade regarding Aviation SMS, I have yet to find a description of the 3rd comoponent - "System".
I eventually figured a model out for myself (took about 5 years and some false starts), and once I did, life got much easier. For an industry that is rife with plagarism, I am sitting on the fine detail for the time being. However in outline I will share this with you.... I grouped safety items into three areas, Organisation, Risk Management and Hazard information, and broke the business down into 4 domains, Ground ops, Flight ops, Cabin, and Maintenance. You then apply ORG, RM and HAZ across those domains. This then gives you a matrix that you can populate with all the "Tools" in your safety toolbox.
F'rinstance in Org you put safety policies, company organigrams, and so on (information that doesn't change very much) in RM this is the busiest bit with all of your tangible activities of Audits, investigations, safety databases, emergency response, risk assessments and so on. Finally HAZ is information and feedback to all levels of the organisation, in a format appropriate to a 3 level audience (Workforce,Management,Directors), which is all of the output from RM, which initself has beeen defined by what you put in Org - Simples !
All of this lends itself very easily to putting all of your sms activity on a web page/Intranet (which I eventually did) and suddenly it all worked. Needs a bit of thought on how you do that, and what content is public (staff) domain and private (management) domain.
Once you reach this stage, everything is done by "clickology", and when it comes to being audited by external agencies (CAA's etc) and they say show me xxx in your safety management system, then I go "click" on anyone of a number of headings - Happiness prevails, and I will never go back to trying to run a paper based SMS without any defined "System" in place.
The sms is now entirely visible and transparent to anyone that wants to take a look, at anytime, from anywhere. It is logically ordered, and any new initiative/buzz word/latest mousetrap (from ICAO, CAA etc) will always fall into one of the three categories. With the caveat that this is not public domain material, and that appropriate levels of IT security are applied, something else you need to consider if you go down this route for your company "Systemised" SMS.
So there you go, just one persons take on the last "S" of SMS, and what I did to put something in place.
First, let me mention that I sent Aviator275 a copy of what Chris H sent me last year just in case Chris did know there was a new post in this thread.
Burr, that looks like a decent method of tying together the elements of an SMS and one I believe I will try myself soon. It certainly should satisfy any auditor who wants to see how you "hung" your SMS together.
However, let me mention the problem I've had with this SMS requirement since the beginning. If I am not mistaken, the requirement to describe "the system" applies to the organization that owns the SMS, not the SMS itself.
For example, this is from FAA Advisory Circular 120-92a: The system or task descriptions should completely explain the interactions among the organization (facilities, hardware, software, people, etc.) and environment that make up the system in sufficient detail to identify hazards and perform risk analyses.
So you can see the requirement calls for a fairly complete description of your company, not your SMS. While this is not impossible to do, I have been looking for a description that has already been written just to see how someone else "hung together" a description of how their company works.
This business of a "description of the system" was also discussed at length on the LinkedIn Safety Forum last year. Some people did think it meant the SMS but general consensus was that is a description of your company and how the different departments and functions work together.
If you want, I think you can find that at <http://www.linkedin.com/groups#>. CU guys L8tr.
Ah ha, see where you're coming from. I have described how to perhaps arrange your SMS bits and pieces, so that it funtions in a practical sort of way. What you were looking for (and what I need to have a think about) is a description of how your company/organisation component bits, are glued together, in what also could be construed as an SMS.
The answer that Douglas Adams's "Deep thought" computer came up with was 42, and my initial thoughts are to go for that. However in this litigenous world in which we live, that maybe perceived as a little short on detail.
Safetypee, Thanks a million <grin>. I'd never seen that "EHEST Safety Kit" before; the only one I thought existed was the IHST Helicopter SMS Toolkit seen a year or more ago. IHST is good but doesn't give as much usable (vs. useful) information as the kit you pointed out.
After only a quick read-through, I see the EHEST Kit even has a sub-section entitled "System Description". While that description is written in terms of making a risk analysis, it's good enough for me to get started on using it for the organization. I'll start next week. For those interested, below is what that sub-section says (i.e, Sub-section 8.1.4, Risk Assessment Steps).
System Description The activity to be analyzed should be described in terms of systems and processes. The system should include the organizational structures, processes and procedures (including personnel, equipment and facilities) and the environment in which the operation is to take place.
The system description should explain the interface between the different processes and components and the nature of the interaction between them and make use of relevant elements already described in the Company’s Management System Documentation and related procedures.
After having spent a year+ researching this "system description" problem, I think now, with that EHEST prompt, I have enough ideas to start writing something readable for my organization's SMS.