What does it mean “Working” within an EASA Organisational SMS Structure?

The following takes a quick look at the functional engagement of the SMS within the European Community and how it connects to the national airworthiness authority.

The European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS) – Is intended to ensure that the principles of safety management are applied within the European Aviation Community so as to continually improve safety performance.

It is driven by Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, known as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Basic Regulation, to ensure the application of ICAO safety management principles that are fundamental to the continuous improvement of civil aviation safety.

The EPAS seeks to anticipate emerging industry safety risks and make the best use of technical resources through a common framework for prioritising, planning and implementing safety improvement actions.

EASA develops the EPAS in close collaboration with the Member States and other relevant stakeholders. The EPAS is produced annually and looks ahead to the following four years.

It examines relevant safety information sources (notably occurrences), prioritisation of issues and evaluates options to address them. It identifies the main areas of concern affecting the European aviation safety system.

It then sets out the strategic actions necessary to mitigate those concerns and return safety risk back to an acceptable level.

The EPAS is supported by the EASA Annual Safety Review (ASR) that includes dedicated safety risk portfolios which focus on the various operational domains in Europe. It also monitors the implementation of the related mitigation actions including, where appropriate, related Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs).

EASA Organisational Requirements

SMS must be focused on managing safety risks in the actual operational activities that individual organisations undertake.

Managing aviation safety risk within an SMS is something that organisations do as an integral part of their day-to-day operations. It extends much further than a document that lives on the shelf. To be effective, it must be a real fully functioning process focussed on protecting the key elements of the organisation rather than a ‘tick-box’ compliance endeavour simply made up of processes and risk matrices.

EASA requires each aviation organisation to be responsible for the safety of its operations.

Typically a Safety Management System (SMS) should be the primary way that the organisations manage safety.

  • The SMS should be designed specifically for the needs of that organisation.
  • The SMS should cover risks specific to the organisation and its activities.

Note:  SMS is not a one size fits all undertaking; it should not be a copy-paste from any another organisation as no two organisations have the same risk profile.

The SMS shall address the day-to-day activities of the organisation as a continuous process and focus on protecting lives.

SMS versus Compliance

The organisation shall demonstrate compliance with EASA Regulations which typically contain a number of “so-called” risk assessed controls, however, SMS must go beyond compliance to provide the foundations for safety.

The key question to consider is how can we answer the following “How well does our compliant organisation control its risks?”

The EASA regulatory framework should include Quality Control Measures (Compliance or ‘ensurance’), Compliance Monitoring (‘assurance’) and Safety Risk Management (focus on safety control measures) in its integrated management system approach.

Further Information Regarding Forthcoming SMS Training

Safety Management Systems – Aviation Risk Management – 5 Days – Sofia, Bulgaria

The course will run from 9 am to 5 pm on February 17th until February 21st 2020

Details may be found here

Email office@sassofia.com to sign up!