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Safety Management Systems

The modern transportation system is characterized by increasingly diverse and complex networks of business and governmental organizations. The rapidly changing aviation operational environment requires these organizations to adapt continuously to maintain their viability and relevance. These characteristics of complexity, diversity, and change add to the importance of sound management of functions that are essential to safe operations. While safety efforts in transportation have been highly successful to date, the rapid increase in the volume and variety of operations push the limitations of current safety strategies and practices. The best approach to problems of increased operational activity and decreased resources is to bring safety efforts into the normal management framework of aviation transportation operations. Just as businesses and government organizations must manage these factors effectively to accomplish their missions or to maintain business viability, they must likewise provide sound management of safety. This innovation in transportation system safety is best termed "Safety Management Systems" a term indicating that safety efforts are most effective when made part of business and government management of operations and oversight.

safteyimage2Safety Benefits of an SMS. An SMS is essentially a quality management approach to controlling risk. It also provides the organizational framework to support a sound safety culture. For smaller operators such as general aviation, rural transit, or short-line railroads, an SMS can form the core of the company's safety efforts. For large scale operators such as certificated airlines or air taxi operators, transit properties, Class I railroads, and even training organizations, the SMS can also serve as an efficient means of interfacing with appropriate federal certification and oversight offices. The SMS provides the company's management with a detailed roadmap for monitoring safety-related processes.

Business Benefits of an SMS. Development and implementation of an SMS can give the transportation service railsafteyimage1provider's management a structured set of tools to meet their legal responsibilities but they can also provide significant business benefits. The SMS incorporates internal evaluation and quality assurance concepts that can result in more structured management and continuous improvement of operational processes. The SMS is designed to allow integration of safety efforts into the operator's business model and to integrate other systems such as quality, occupational safety, and environmental control systems that operators might already have in place or might be considering. Operators in other countries and in other industries who have integrated SMSs into their business models report that the added emphasis on process management and continuous improvement benefits them financially as well."

This web site is provided by The MITRE Corporation in the public interest
to increase awareness of aviation Safety Management Systems (SMS)