Content Abstract…………………………………………………………………………. 4 Introduction……………………………………………………………………… 5 The International Civil Aviation Organization………………………….. …… 7 Trainings………………………………………………………………………… 9 Hazard and risk management for safety……………………………………10 From management strategies to safety……………………………………. 13 The statistical evidence………………………………………………………. 15 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………….. 18 Reference list………………………………………………………………….. 20 Abstract The aviation industry is one of the most exposed to hazards and risks, however aircrafts are the safer way to travel.
Indeed safety management systems have been designed to make that industry as safe as possible. Those systems receive valuable assistance from agencies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and National authorities to reach the safety strategic objectives. They provide training programs to help SMS to improve their effectiveness, by ensuring the competences of the personnel from executives to employees. Therefore SMS could improve their management of hazards and risks, which is the principal mean to avoid accidents and allowed companies to save money.
To achieve these goals safety systems apply every day the fundamental management strategies, and put them together for a better efficiency and effectiveness. The results have been proved, in term of performance and profit, SMS improved the world aviation operations. Introduction Air transport is a complex system that provides many interactions between different actors such as airlines, air traffic control, airports, and technologies. It also involves many human interventions in an uncertain and luctuating environment, subject to the vagaries of the weather, or to the aviation regulations. Aviation safety management is then the application of management principles to achieve safety in the air transport environment. This goal is achievable by reducing and maintaining at an acceptable level risks that could harm persons or damage equipment, through a continuing process of hazard identification and risk management 1(Bryant, 2011, § 2). This process falls into a more general framework, which is the safety management of complex systems.
Indeed, aviation management belongs to a complex worldwide system made of performances, profits, rules, regulations, hazards and risks. According to Professor James Reason, the world-leading expert on human errors; taking into account human factors and organizational issues; the very different systems such as healthcare systems, nuclear systems, financial systems or air transport systems, are similar in terms of risks and failures 2(Hinton-Walker et al, 2006). In this way he developed theories and models to improve organizations’ safety management.
Therefore, managing safety within the aviation environment has evolved through three approaches or methods, which are proactive, reactive and predictive management. It has adopted a pyramidal approach, in the way that each level of the safety management system (SMS), can discharge to a lower level of the system, which is in its area. The level that delegates can still keep control on the lower level’s ability to manage safety. This approach helps to empower each actor of the safety chain and multiply the effects of global aviation safety management.
It also provides to final operators of the air transport, embedded and responsible, systems of safety management 3(gestion, 2010). Good safety management is more than just a legal and moral requirement. Around the world, there is a growing recognition that safety management systems can improve the operating performance and profits of a Company as well as its safety defenses. In this way finding how SMS has evolved and allowed an improvement of the aviation world operations seems to be the best way to confirm that SMS is definitively essential.
Therefore to support that idea several aspects of the SMS are going to be developed and equated to real facts or events. In the first part will be treated the ICAO involvement for the aviation safety cause through a brief explanation of its objectives and roles. In the second one it will be explain how training is essential to improve organization operations through an ongoing learning system, followed by the third point that will treat two of the main activities of the SMS, the hazard and risk management.
The fourth part will be an analysis of the 3 management strategies together with their participation in the improvement of SMS thanks to specific means. The last point will consist to prove, by the mean of statistics, that the management of aviation safety in recent years has really improved the performances and profit of companies as well as the safety defenses. The International Civil Aviation Organization The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency that depends on the United Nations. There are actually 190 contracting countries.
Its main role consists on the elaboration of norms, which allowed a standardization of the international air navigation. The executive body of the organization, The Council, adopts and incorporates the new or review standards and recommended practices applicable to the different aviation sectors in contracting states 4(ICAO, 2010, §2). Every year is edited the Annual Report of the Council which treats the quasi totality of the air transportation aspects. Among them, there is a chapter on safety where are exposed the past year measures and results.
At the beginning of the safety chapter are presented those strategic objectives to enhance global civil aviation safety: * “Identify and monitor existing types of safety risks to civil aviation and develop and implement an effective and relevant global response to emerging risks. * Ensure the timely implementation of ICAO provisions by continuously monitoring the progress toward compliance by States. * Conduct aviation safety oversight audits to identify deficiencies and encourage their resolution by States. * Develop global remedial plans that target the root causes of deficiencies. Assist States to resolve deficiencies through regional remedial plans and the establishment of safety oversight organizations at the regional or subregional level. * Encourage the exchange of information between States to promote mutual confidence in the level of aviation safety between States and accelerate the improvement of safety oversight. * Promote the timely resolution of safety-critical items identified by Planning and Implementation Regional Groups (PIRGs). * Support the implementation of safety management systems across all safety-related disciplines in all States. Assist States to improve safety through technical cooperation programmes and by making critical needs known to donors and financial organizations” 5(ICAO, 2010, p20). Thanks to those objectives, the fact that safety management is more than just a legal and moral requirement becomes clear. In 2009 the best progresses noticed by the ICAO in safety management were the collection and analysis of data, some predictive management activities included in the safety proactive strategy 6(ICAO, 2010, p21, §1).
The ICAO is definitely considering safety as a major aspect of the international civil aviation. Moreover according to the reports for the year 2009 the contracting states are also involved in that proactive campaign, for example, “member States and regional organizations continue to provide valuable support to ICAO through the secondment of experts on a long- or short-term basis, to participate in the activities of the USOAP” (Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme) 7(ICAO, 2010, p22).
Indeed other technical projects calling for the participation of the contracting states have emerged the past years and some are still on going (Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Projects) 8(ICAO, 2010, p28, §2). Trainings The ICAO also plays an important role in the improvement of the aviation safety around the world by creating training programs for national civil aviation administrations.
Those programs are highly involved in the improvement of organizations’ safety defenses. In 2009, 1791 individuals received in their home country training by ICAO experts on areas such as SMS, aerodrome safety and certification, or rescue and fire fighting 9(ICAO, 2010, p28, §2). On a performance point of view, providing trainings to every level of an organization from senior management to employees is efficient but also effective. The fact is that with better safety knowledge and skills he rate of operational errors due to unknown situations will decrease and the actions lead toward safety deficiencies in organizations should be improved. Training programs is probably the best way to improve the safety defenses of every organization. Moreover for ICAO contracting states’ organizations providing safety management trainings became a necessity in 2009, as the ICAO required “the implementation of a regulation aiming the set up of a SMS for all air operators” by 2012 10(Air France consulting, n. d. , §1).
For airport operators, according to the DGAC in France, under, respectively Article 6 and 15 of the decree on the implementation of SMS, “the aerodrome operator shall ensure the establishment of a training plan, which identifies and prioritizes the training provided for those likely to have an impact on safety” and “the airport operator broadcasts at any level of organization, and relevant third, lessons of feedback, including surveys on events related to safety” 11(Republique Francaise, 2006, articles 6 & 15).
To meet these requirements, operators must ensure the competences of their personnel. They have to prepare plans for initial and ongoing training. They also must ensure that their subcontractors do the same for their employees. By competences, it shall mean the required level of knowledge skills and experience 12(DGAC,2008, p19). The SMS of those operators is then directly linked to the performance of the airport thanks to training programs, which will allow employees to manage errors and avoid organizational accidents.
The profit that will result from that increase of performance could be financial thanks to a safer environment, attractive for partners or customers. Nevertheless the resulting profit could also be the acquisition of certifications delivered by international and national agencies. Hazard and risk management for safety By implementing training programs organizations’ SMS through the world have the opportunity to improve their performance and profit, but on top of that process, hazard and risk management seem to be other means to achieve better performance and profit thanks to safer organization.
Hazards and risks should not be mixed up. A hazard is a, “condition, object or activity with the potential of causing injuries to personnel, damage to equipment or structures, loss of material, or reduction of ability to perform a prescribed function”. On the other hand, risk is “the chance of a loss or injury, measured in terms of severity and probability” 13(Bryant, 2011, slide 5). In aviation, hazards have to be seriously treated, as they are present at each level of organizations.
For example, every flight they do, pilots are exposed to different kind of hazards, such as weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar airport or unexpected obstacle close to runways (personal experience, crane at the end of a runway in Cannes, France). Identify, analyze and document those hazards is therefore a necessity to avoid the associated risks and eventual accidents. Identifying hazards is probably the hazardous process, it requires operational expertise, training in SMS, and if possible, hazard analysis techniques, a well defined hazard analysis tool, and adequate documentation of the process 14(FAA, 2007, p10).
Once hazards have been identified, comes the risk management which; through a risk assessment including evaluations of the probability, severity and tolerability of the risk; leads to a final decision, taking actions and continuing the operations or cancelling the operations. Last year the international aviation has been affected by a hazard of substantial magnitude, a giant volcanic ash cloud, due to the irruption of a volcano in Iceland, Europe. In 1982 a British Airways B747 flew through the same type of cloud in Indonesia.
It lost its four engines at 37,000ft before recovering three quarters of the power 25,000ft below, allowing the pilot to do an emergency landing. The investigations revealed that the volcanic dust was at the origin of the failure. Thanks to that accident, and other similar events encountered since the 70’s 15(Novak, 2010), flying through volcanic cloud has been considered as a very dangerous safety risk. In this way last year the quasi totality of the northern and western European air traffic closed according to a risk management process, which determined that the risks could not be mitigated.
Indeed the volcanic ash cloud related risks were enormous, not only for aircraft and passengers but also for airports operations and equipment. Therefore the closure of the air traffic and airports in the most exposed country was a safety issue. It has had, a non-negligible economic impact and high direct costs for aviation organizations. According to the IATA more than 100 000 flight were cancelled. However, that predictive measure allowed a reduction of the induced indirect costs, such as the loss of use of equipment leading to potential insurance deductibles or legal actions, which could have been monumental.
Undoubtedly it was the more accurate, and safer solution, as the most effective risk management. Thankfully the safety management tends to implement more predictive strategies. According to the annual report of the council (ICAO) for the year 2009, volcanic ash tests were conducted across the world in ICAO regions “to prepare international civil aviation for volcanic eruptions which, should they occur, could block huge areas of airspace with little advance warning” 16(ICAO, 2010, p27, §2).
Moreover, the reactive management approach over the years helped the ICAO to draft a manual on Volcanic Ash, Radioactive Material and Toxic Chemical Clouds, which gives the information and procedures to apply when the related events occur 17(ICAO, 2007). Without safety risk management and basic safety defenses, aviation organizations could not take on time decisions such as cancelling a flight, closing an airport, or just doing nothing. The hazards and the related risks always evolve and change, some are predictable others not, some already occurred others not.
That is why, if companies want to operate in an organization with a level of risk as low as reasonably practicable, and improve their safety defenses, they need reactive proactive and predictive strategies. From management strategies to safety So let’s have a sight on how those management strategies have permitted SMS to improve organizations’ performances profit and defenses through a description and analyze of their specificities and main scopes. The first one, the reactive safety management process, is based on the collection of data from past events.
This process often generates considerable damaging consequences as the reactive notion consists on waiting for something to break, to fix it 18(ICAO, 2009, §3. 5. 3). For organizations that process is essential but not very efficient because it is mainly focused on technologic failures or unusual events such as the volcanic ash cloud presented previously. However the data collected and stored by the reactive process by the means of Air Safety Reports and accidents or incidents reports, are very useful. Indeed they allow agencies uch as the ICAO to draft manuals for training programs and safety management systems already set up, so they provide information on past events to try to avoid, errors, incidents or accidents, to be reproduced. Those manuals are parts of the safety defenses of companies. The past incidents reports of airliners that flew through volcanic ash clouds are good examples of useful data. Actually, last year a same kind of cloud covered Europe, therefore safety systems used the reactive collection of data to improve their management of the event.
Moreover ”continuing improvement is achieved through reactive evaluations in order to verify the effectiveness of the system for control and mitigation of risks” 19(Bryant, 2011, slide 24). The second process used by safety management systems is the proactive strategy. That process is mostly based upon the notion that risks, within organizations, can be minimized by identifying them prematurely before a system fails, and by taking the right mitigation actions. In term of performances acting proactively is more efficient than waiting for something to happen.
The proactive methods to collect data are also different and not mainly based on reports but more on surveys and audits. It allows organizations to keep an endless control of their safety performances and in this way to reduce the level of risk by taking the lead. In 2008 the Universal Safety Audit Programme of the ICAO started the second cycle of audits for every member states. This audit program focused on the state’s national capabilities to provide appropriate national oversight of its aviation security activities 20(ICAO, n. d. ).
Audits can also be done by organizations, on specific points such as a Boeing 727 cargo door that presents dysfunction for example 21(CASA, 1992, §6). Going against the hazards and risks is a safe way to prevent an accident but trying to find trouble to avoid them is the best way to manage safety. This is the predictive management strategy a highly effective process. It utilizes a large amount of data “to aggressively seek safety information that may be indicative of emerging safety risks from a variety of sources” 22(ICAO, 2009, §3. 5. 5).
Organizations such as the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) adopted the predictive approach to capture “real-time system performance as it happens during normal operations so that potential future problems can be identified and predicted” 23(SAA n. d. p56 §2). Thanks to that strategy linked with their Safety Performance Indicators, an acceptable level of safety can be objectively determined. In addition, by crossing the predictive, reactive and proactive data, the CAAS can continuously measure, assess and trend their safety performances to ensure that the risk level of each indicator stays at an acceptable level 24(SAA n. . p56) The statistical evidence To truly realize how much safety policies setup in the recent years have improved the overall aviation performances and profits, let’s have a view on some statistics collected to different aviation national organizations. By studying and mixing those numbers we can have the proof that the safety measures are really effective and have a positive impact. The curve 1. shows how the commercial aviation number of accidents in the United States has evolved during the last 20 years from 1991 to 2010.
In spite of fluctuations, after the pic of 2000 there is a clear decreasing tendency of the number of accident, for an increasing hours of flight 25(NTSB, 2011). The curve 2. , similar to the previous one, was drawn with the Australian data on a shorter range, 1999 to 2009, but it is sufficient to notify the same decreasing tendency of number of accident for an increasing hours of flight 26(ATSB, 2010, p 4 &11). In reality, those two curves are just a sample of the worldwide decrease number of accident, which starts to become stable around 4 accidents per million flights per year 27(Boeing 2009, p18).
The enforcement of the entire aviation safety imposed by the ICAO and governments is really decreasing the level of accident to the lower level achievable. It means that the improvement of, pilots, flight crew or maintenance personnel trainings and performances as well as procedures’ checklists, and ATC reorganization, leaded by organizations’ SMS are efficient. However reducing the number of accident regards more of the improvement of performances thanks to safety management than the improvement of profit financially speaking.
Indeed those data are a good safety performance indicator. Nevertheless according to Mr Ron Bartsch, a Senior Industry Technical Consultant for Middletons and an aviation law and safety teacher, “a higher level of safety is not inconsistent with increased profits” 28(Nancarrow 2011, §1). In fact, safety is more linked to savings than profitability. The director general of the IATA Giovani Bisignani said that since 2004, the IATA programs have permitted to the aviation industry to save $47 billions, thanks to efficient safety audit for example 29(Bisignani 2010).
The SMS implementation may also be of interest to small operators according to Transport Canada; “Moncton Flight College claims direct savings of $35,000. 00 plus a 27% saving (lower than industry average) on insurance premiums as a result of SMS Implementation” 30(Transport Canada, n. d. §12). In term of safety defense, numbers cannot help to show the improvement, but every year thousands of people receive specialized trainings from IACO, IATA or governmental agencies. New regulations are made every year and the old are reviewed as often as necessary to restrict the margin of risks. Conclusion
In aviation, safety is first, and is everybody’s responsibility. The ICAO who is setting the rules has fully understood that, and tries to implant that vision to each part of this industry, which is highly dealing with hazards, risks, errors and accidents. So, in order to reduce those harmful aspects of the aviation or at least to deal with them in a safer way, safety management systems were established within companies and organizations. SMS are only as good as their implementation is correctly designed. In this way the ICAO, followed by other national and international agencies setup implementation programs to ensure the process.
All sorts of company linked to aviation around the world have taken the opportunity to improve their performances as well as their profit, by implementing an effective and efficient SMS. However the systems are subject to constant changes and evolutions, such as new regulations or new technologies. Therefore ongoing trainings are necessary for the actors of aviation safety to stay updated and aware of what is going on, unless the hazard and risk management would not be effective and the SMS functioning would be hampered.
Indeed, that two management processes are the principal means a SMS uses to avoid accidents and to maintain the level of risk as low as reasonably practicable. By managing hazards and risks companies improve their performance in term of productivity for example, and avoid banal accidents to catastrophes. As a consequence of that improvement, companies’ profits climb. The SMS to achieve their performance target use the 3 main management strategies, which are the reactive, proactive en predictive.
Thanks to that, they also developed newer and better safety defenses for their organizations as well as a global documentation, useful for preventions and comparisons. Companies and aviation authorities use documents such as statistics, as safety indicators helping them to set objectives or to make new regulations if necessary. In this way according to statistics, the fact that SMS are truly and positively acting on the aviation world becomes clear, a global decrease of accidents around the world and a non negligible profit for companies.
To conclude, it is true that in the parts of the world where the aviation industry is more developed the implementation of SMS has definitively improved the organizations safety thanks to the management approach. By avoiding risks as much as possible performances have been improved, and organizations saved substantial amount of money. Moreover, every year the ICAO in relations with 300 governments and national authorities contribute to the reinforcement of the safety defenses to help the SMS in their tasks. However some parts of the world such as Africa have not yet had noticeable results in matter of safety.
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