Safety Officer Teleconference (5)
• The call started with an issue brought up by one of the callers. The caller said that they are a small flight department with one Challenger and four pilots. He found it hard to get folks to participate and stay motivated with the SMS. He felt that it was related to the idea that the SMS made more work for people. He said that it is hard to get people to write things up. They went through a recent audit and the auditor suggested that they consider giving a “prize” or reward to those that submitted reports – but he doesn’t want to do that. His question was, how to get people involved and continued to be motivated, to participate in an SMS. Especially for a small flight department.
o A caller responded that the personnel need to see that the SMS is being effective. She asked the other caller what was their documentation process.
o The first caller responded that reports do get written and the results are shared with everyone within the department. He continued with an example of one of their reports about a charter passenger bringing a wild animal onboard that got loose during the flight.
o Another caller said they have a similar issue. They found that if everything within the SMS was simplified, it is more likely to be used. They use their reporting process not only to identify hazards, but also to include ideas for improvement. He gave an example of how the process was used to report that a Wall Street Journal was not onboard for a particular flight.
o Walter Kraujalis commented that he agreed that a simple SMS is best for smaller flight departments, and to include ideas for improvements. However, to use it for reporting a newspaper was missing is somewhat diluting the reporting process’s core purpose of dealing with hazards.
• A caller brought up a new issue. He asked what anyone thought about having the aviation manager or chief pilot as the safety officer. Did that affect the SMS?
o A caller responded to say that their chief pilot was the safety officer and everything was fine.
o Another caller said that he would not want the boss to be the safety officer. If he were, it would short-circuit the SMS process. He wanted to have the process of root cause analysis and come up with recommendations from those within the safety committee.
o Another caller said their Director of Operations was the safety officer and that it works.
o Walter Kraujalis commented that management still runs the department. The SMS process is somewhat the “eyes and ears” for management, to provide feedback as to whether their processes are working or not, or need to be modified. It is difficult at times, especially in a small flight department, to have a separate person performing the role as safety officer. Not just anyone can be the safety officer – there has to be competence and also cooperation between the safety officer and management. The SMS process offers up recommendations to management, not mandates. Management still decides whatever action should be taken, hopefully with the counsel and advice of the SMS process. If the manager is the safety officer, that person hopefully is open to listen, open to discuss that things may not be perfect, and open to change.
• Another caller pointed out that it is all about culture. Management has to believe in the SMS process. An SMS needs to have the support from the top or it will never work. Also, the Safety Officer needs to have training in safety theory and SMS management. o Another caller asked what training programs were out there available and what would be the recommended minimum training.
o A caller responded that there is the IBAC course, and NBAA has PDP courses. The caller later emailed to AeronomX some course information:
§ USC Viterbi safety and security program: http://viterbi.usc.edu/aviation/aviation_cert_programs/aviation_safety_securit y.htm
§ Bombardier Safety Stand-down
§ NBAA PDP
§ IBAC-fundamentals of IS-BAO workshops
§ ERAU safety certification o Other callers mentioned the Embry-Riddle safety program.
• A caller brought the discussion back to the notion that SMS is an advisory role and not telling management what to do.
o A caller responded there are two relative points. First, management sets the culture. The Director of Aviation needs to believe in identifying issues and hazards. The manager need to encourage full reporting – and understand that it may be a cultural change for people to start reporting. Second, the manager sets the tone. He needs to let people know that he is willing to listen and discuss what could be done better. He has to agree to the process of change. Plus, the safety officer needs training to be effective in their role.
• That concluded the call. It was 30 minutes in length. Next call is Tuesday, April 8th, at 11:30am Eastern time. Thank you for your participation. Please let other Safety Officers know of the opportunity to join the call or to access these meeting notes.
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