March 01, 2023


Sofema Aviation Services (SAS) considers optimum engagement best practices related to SMS Business Risk Change Management Principles.

Introduction Change Management Process

An effective SMS combines many processes to achieve the desired outcome. Usually, to manage safety risks to a level as low as reasonably practicable. (ALARP)

To be successful it is necessary to collect information (Data) from multiple sources and to integrate this Data into a deeper understanding of the organisation’s exposures and challenges.

The Change Management Process is an SMS process which is used for validating changes to the organisations SMS whenever it is triggered as part of safety management activities or when a significant change to an operational process or business activity is identified.

  • The change management process supports the proactive identification and management of any identified safety risks associated with the change.
  • A change management process typically involves a documented safety-related assessment which enables a detailed understanding of the identified hazards together with the assessment of the magnitude of any associated risks.

Example of Management of Change Candidates

  • Changes within the organisational structure
  • Changes in the provision of any contracted service providers
  • Introduction of a new aircraft type
  • Significant change in the nature of the operation

o Growth Considerations
o New routes
o Change in Operational environment

Application of Potential Change Management Data

  • Apply the information concerning the proposed or potential change to the standard organisations  Hazard Identification process.
  • Integrate the normal Management Review for upcoming plans and proposals to align with the Management of the Change Process (MOC).
  • Evaluate Flight Data Information and compare it with information from both reported incidents and ongoing Hazard Identification. Apply to Training Development & Future Planning.
  • Consider Safety Meetings as a source for benchmarking and evaluation and relate to potential change management by performing standardized risk analysis and mitigations.

SMS Change Management Validation Process

  • Use available information to support oversight of the Hazard Identification and mitigation process.
  • Use the safety assurance processes to further ensure that safety management activities are achieving the desired outcomes.
  • Use available data to identify new and emerging hazards.

Self-Assessment of Change Management Capacity

Answer the following in respect of your own organisation, the objective is to satisfy yourself regarding the acceptability of the current process.

  • Is your current process for implementing new safety objectives, new corporate vision, emerging market effective – how to demonstrate?
  • How are major corrective actions driven changes led within your organisation?
  • How do you capture emerging risks and define mitigating strategies? (is this documented & understood?)
  • Can you demonstrate that you systematically review the risks associated with the changes and appropriate procedures or documentation?
  • How do you identify, evaluate, mitigate and record new hazards induced by the changes?
  • How is the criteria developed to determine the classification of changes as “minor” or “major”?
  • How is the criticality of affected organisational systems and activities assessed? (by whom)

o How do you keep the stability of systems and operational environments under control during these changes?
o How do you take into consideration the past performance of critical systems as an indicator of future performance?
o How do you plan these changes and lead them?

  • Are you able to measure the resistance to change? (what do you do with this information)
  • How do you communicate about these changes throughout the organisation (how to demonstrate effective communication?)
  • How to ensure no new hazards are introduced (has this happened in your experience?)
  • Are you able to use Safety Performance Indicators in conjunction with Change Management Activities? (How effective is this process? (what are the challenges))

Next Steps

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Note – Sofema Aviation Services offer a training course reviewing both the value and importance of developing the best safety management system to deliver real and tangible benefits to the organisation:

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