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26 Safety Management Systems for Airports What Should It Achieve? It serves to define on-going work for making the system more effi- cient, effective, and safer. How Do We Address It? Continuous improvement is achieved through regular, periodic, and planned reviews, which are conducted regarding the airport's safety processes and performance. The SMS Manager may solicit input through the non-punitive safety reporting system. An organization's management provides the Major decisions and actions aimed at improv- foundation for continuous improvement of an ing safety are monitored to evaluate their effective- effective SMS. ness. Further action is taken when the expected risk benefit is not achieved or when there is room for improvement. Now that we have described each element and process one-by-one, the following section illus- trates the relationships between all of the SMS elements and processes. 2.3 Example of an Airport SMS in Practice At XYZ Airport, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is fully aware of and embraces her role as the Accountable Executive in the context of SMS. There is a sign on her door that reads, "When it comes to safety, the buck stops here." This Accountable Executive started by making a public commitment to SMS with a safety pol- icy. This policy statement, which was developed in conjunction with the senior management team, clearly describes XYZ's commitment to safety. Everybody knows the Accountable Execu- tive is behind the policy because her signature is prominently displayed at the bottom. Everyone at XYZ knows about the policy because it is discussed periodically at meetings and safety talks, both of which are part of a comprehensive safety communications plan, and also because it can be seen on display boards in key areas of the airport right next to the safety objec- tives of the organization. Similar displays can be found in prominent areas in every department. These boards include an organizational chart and pictures of key safety personnel, including their names, contact numbers, and e-mail addresses. The key safety personnel displayed are the SMS Manager, the department managers and supervisors, and the airport CEO. All employees are fully aware of "who is who" and where they fit within the organization. XYZ staff members know who to talk to when they have a safety concern and when to report a safety hazard through the blank safety report forms and drop boxes adjacent to the display boards. Employees use the safety report forms with confidence because, since they first came into use, a series of safety improvements has occurred. In all cases, the reporter received prompt feedback about the concern from either the SMS Manager or the reporter's supervisor. Employees know that feedback is guaranteed, even when they do not want to be identified. In the case of an anony- mous report, feedback is posted on the same display. Most anonymous reports are from XYZ tenant employees who work for companies that, unlike XYZ, do not offer a non-punitive reporting policy. The anonymous option, paired with the ability to fill in an electronic report form on either the airport intranet or external website, ensures that all possible hazardous situations are reported to the airport, regardless of origin. All XYZ employees are well aware that they are a critical link in the hazard identification process in place at the airport. This information is displayed boldly in the employee handbooks they received when they were first hired and is discussed as part of weekly safety talks that are held with their department supervisor. Further awareness comes from the specific training
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Airport Safety Management Systems 27 program that each employee is part of, specifically in the form of indoctrination training and continual refresher and recurrent training based on job needs analyses. All this training and preparation assures supervisors and department managers that they can count on competent staff to perform their duties, but it also provides them with the support they need to perform SMS-specific duties. That is why supervisors and managers include their staff in the development of SOP and brainstorming sessions to identify new hazards (especially when they are due to a significant change occurring in the airport). After all, they are the ones out there doing the work--they know best! Through training and participation, employees are fully aware that all hazardous situations or events need to be reported, and that when submitted, the SMS Manager will review them and make sure that they are assessed appropriately. However, some personnel are not familiar with the process that follows. Following a report, the SMS Manager will identify the risks associated with each hazard reported. This is done using a risk matrix that helps assess the level of severity and probability of the risk and prioritize this risk for taking appropriate actions. The SMS Manager makes good use of such risk assessments; although the airport has only limited resources, she is able to allo- cate appropriately because she knows where the major safety concerns are. Moreover, by estab- lishing proper corrective or mitigating actions, the SMS Manager is able to estimate how much it will cost to maintain a safe airport environment. XYZ staff members are aware that, once they make a report, the SMS Manager will usually contact them to obtain more information. Working with the department supervisor, the SMS Manager will investigate the hazard and determine the root cause of the problem. Sometimes employees complain about how many "whys" they have to answer, but in the end they do not mind because they know that these questions will result in actions to correct the problem. These actions usually take the form of a new procedure or a change to infrastructure or training. XYZ staff are also confident that blame normally is not laid, unless someone was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or negligent during his/her actions. All this hard work makes the SMS Manager a popular person at the airport. The SMS Man- ager can be spotted walking around the facilities, sometimes accompanied by the CEO. The SMS Manager talks to people, always listens to any concerns, and has good tips on safety issues. However, most employees are not aware of what the SMS Manager is doing when she is not walking around. Staff are not aware that when the SMS Manager is not with department man- agers and supervisors, supporting them by providing material for their weekly safety talks or facilitating a brainstorming session to identify hazards, she probably is developing a new safety activity, for example, planning an event for the safety education campaign, writing a new safety bulletin, or gathering and analyzing data to see if she can identify any trends. The SMS Manager is an important help to the CEO. She gathers all the safety-related data and reports from line managers and summarizes this information for the CEO when asked for a sta- tus update or when it comes time for the management review. The management review is a key function that ensures that the XYZ SMS is working properly and that noticeable improvements in safety performance are seen at the airport. At least once a year, this important meeting takes place where senior management and the SMS Manager get together with the CEO to review and assess SMS performance. The meeting starts with the review of the safety objectives set up at the beginning of the year. The CEO will ask all department managers to talk about how their internal objectives compare with their end-of-year results. Of course, there are few surprises here because self-inspections and audits throughout the year allow management to keep a close eye on how things are going. Nonetheless, this management review is an exercise that will support the adjustment and development of the safety objectives for the next year.