Requirements of a Safety Management System

Is Your SMS Compliant?

ICAO Annex 19 supported by Doc 9859 require all elements of the global aviation industry to develop and implement a Safety Management System commensurate with the size and complexity of the individual organisation. In the United kingdom Overseas Territories this requirement is reflected in the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order (AN(OT)O) and amplified through the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTAR) with the authority for establishing compliance being vested in the Governor.

The following is offered as an overview of the requirement and of the broad outlines of the content of a compliant SMS.

An applicant for the granting of a certificate/approval shall establish, to the satisfaction of the Governor, a safety management system (SMS) which is commensurate with the size of the organization and complexity of its operation.

The safety management system shall include:

  1. A safety policy and objectives signed by the accountable manager which reflects an organizational commitment towards safety throughout the organization and sets out:
    1. Management commitment; and
    2. Safety accountability and responsibilities within the SMS, and
    3. Appointment of key safety personnel including a safety manager who is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of an effective SMS; and
    4. SMS documentation; and
    5. Coordination of emergency response planning
  2. Provision for safety risk management including:
    1. Hazard identification based on reactive and proactive methods; and
    2. Safety reporting and investigation processes; and
    3. Safety risk assessment and mitigation.
  3. Provision for safety assurance including:
    1. Safety performance monitoring and measurement; and
    2. The management of change; and
    3. Continuous improvement.
  4. Safety promotion including:
    1. training and education, appropriate to each individual’s Involvement in SMS, to ensure that personnel are trained and competent to perform their duties; and
    2. Safety communication.
  5. A quality management system in accordance with the relevant OTAR, that as a minimum:
    1. Identifies applicable requirements, regulations and standards and demonstrate compliance with them;
    2. Ensures technical manuals, checklists and other documentation is appropriately maintained and incorporates the latest amendments; and
    3. Ensures the training programmes maintain staff proficiency and competency.
The safety management system shall be described in the relevant documentation, and shall be acceptable to the Governor. In the case of the Cayman Islands, the Governor’s authority has been delegated to the Director-General of Civil Aviation.

Organisations may find the following document a useful tool in assessing their individual SMS. The areas highlighted in GREEN are required to be in place (and approved) prior to the grant of of a Permission, Approval, Validation or an Exemption. Where not already in place, the WHITE box items are to be achieved after the grant, within a timeframe agreed between the organisation and the regulator.

Although the document was developed as an audit checklist, our industry partners may find it useful both as an assessment tool and also to understand the methodology that an audit team is likely to adopt.

Click here to view the SMS Assessment Checklist.