Active safety management is one of the core operational areas where an airline can make large efficiency gains that will impact organisational cost efficiencies. Within the North American market there are several voluntary safety management system (SMS) programs that airlines implement, with a leading option being the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). ASAP is a proactive approach to enhancing their organization’s safety management.
With the projected growth in aviation traffic the FAA recognised the need to focus upon safety and to encourage all organisations to take action to reduce or eliminate the possibility (or recurrence) of accidents in air transportation. As such, both the FAA and the air transportation industry have sought innovative means for addressing safety problems and identifying safety hazards.
One way the FAA tries to do this is by actively encouraging safety programs like ASAP in order to increase the awareness of safety management and all employees of their responsibility to promote compliance with regulatory requirements and best safety practices.
The FAA like their counterparts in other geographies like Europe (EASA) have not only encouraged but increased regulation around the use and implementation of a working SMS. The FAA following the discussions around ICAO's Annex 19 with its focus on safety gave the majority of large US airline organisations until 2018 to implement a functioning SMS.
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Why apply a voluntary approach like ASAP?
Airlines should seek ways to encourage a good collaborative participation from employees by reporting important safety issues. This will help facilitate a good safety culture that allows individuals to recognize the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
In order to create an effective safety culture, an airline must ensure they implement the key principles of a safety management system. Additionally, it is vital that an organization should try to move away from punitive measures that aim to discipline individuals as this could prevent employees from wanting to voluntarily come forward in reporting any safety-related issues or concerns.
In order to start implementing the beginnings of a good safety culture, airlines should be looking to improve their reporting culture. An ASAP approach helps to support and measure the improvement of safety culture within an organization.
The purpose of ASAP is to:
- Prevent accidents and incidents by encouraging employees to report safety issues and events
- Provide education, analysis and correction of identified safety concerns
- Create a non-threatening environment to encourage employees to voluntarily report safety-related issues
- Generate safety information that may not be available by other means
ASAP also helps to encourage:
- Air carrier and repair station employees to voluntarily report safety concerns that could become precursors to accidents
- Corrective actions rather than punishment or discipline
- The collection, analysis and retention of safety data
- The education to help prevent any recurrences of the same type of safety event
Voluntary safety programs are an integral part of establishing an effective safety management program for your airline. In addition to this, integrating an ASAP approach with a safety management software such as Vistair’s SafetyNet can help improve the risk management process within an organization and establish a good safety culture.
Implementing a program in this way will also start preparing those within your organization with the tools and knowledge they would need to start making safety a crucial element as part of day-to-day tasks.
Confused about where to start in looking at safety management systems? Download our essential guide today and learn the benefits of implementing a SMS, how this can help promote a Just Culture and ensure your airline becomes more proactive and predictive when it comes to safety.