A Measured Response to Risk
Good message from William Voss (see, “SMS Reconsidered”).
With the proliferation of consultants, computerized tracking systems and self-proclaimed experts, we seem to have lost sight of the simple goal of an SMS: to reduce risk to its lowest possible level. Of course, getting there is the art form; I would suggest that minimalist art techniques should be employed.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is what I learned through training and experience — it has served me well through several careers. But, what to measure? Perhaps the most important item in your four-step approach is how do you know the likely cause of your next potential accident? Or, perhaps, what items should we measure?
I find that many SMS-practicing operators fail to set forth a proper set of goals/objectives for their SMS. Merely stating that the organization will manage risk to its lowest possible level is not good enough. Ensuring active participation of all employees in the hazard identification and risk mitigation program should be the first requirement, with special emphasis on management-level employee participation. Then, items such as expeditious processing of hazard reports (five days, just to show the organization is serious), 30-day risk mitigation follow-up, an internal evaluation system exercised at least quarterly, and regular (monthly?) all-employee risk mitigation (not safety) meetings form a good start for measurable goals.
Measurable goals based on risk management will provide a continuing answer to your key question. The term “safety” and statements such as “we are safe” may make people feel good, but safety itself is not measurable; risk is.
Incidentally, I think CFIT and ALAR checklists are excellent starting points for operational hazard identification and risk assessment.
International Business Aviation Council