A Safety Management System (SMS) includes a proactive approach to safety and is comprised of four components: Safety Policy, Safety Risk Management (SRM), Safety Assurance, and Safety Promotion. While it is generally accepted that SMS is beneficial and enhances the safety of the overall operating environment, it is still not broadly embraced nor is there a general understanding of SMS implementation. Those who have a SMS program claim that it’s likely that most airports are informally using many of the basic elements of SMS.
The SRM component comprises five steps: (1) describing the systems, (2) identifying the hazards, (3) analyzing the risk, (4) assessing the risk, and (5) mitigating the risk. The SRM process is used for all identified issues, regardless of the complexity or size of the airport. An issue could be as simple as being identified and immediately fixed or complex, such as a construction project requiring a more detailed SRM process.
While the benefits of SRM include a responsive safety environment and informed decision making, there are industry concerns regarding the SRM process. These concerns include the required staff time needed and the potential need to add staff; documentation; additional related expenses; and the increase in time to get from design to construction with more complex projects. These concerns are amplified for those airports with limited resources. Research is needed to provide airport operators with guidance on how to efficiently and effectively conduct the SRM process.
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for airports on conducting the safety risk management (SRM) process. The guidebook should include, at a minimum, the following elements:
· Instruction for the five steps of the SRM process and how to tailor it to match the complexity of the issue(s);
· Triggers that identify need for the SRM process and the path to get there;
· A glossary of key terms;
· A list of relevant resources;
· Step-by-step instruction on when and how to conduct a SRM panel, addressing challenges and best practices;
· SRM documentation and tools; and
· An appendix that succinctly summarizes the SRM process and includes a one-page description and customizable checklist for each role within the SRM process.
The research plan should be developed to identify at a minimum:
· The different formats that have been used for SRM panels.
· Examples of how airports have staffed SRM functions.
· Practical examples of the positive benefits of the SRM process.
· Specific concerns that airports had prior to implementing the SRM process, and how they were mitigated and addressed.
· Examples of SRM activities that airports are already informally conducting (e.g., FOD walks, pre-construction meetings).
· How airports with limited resources can manage the SRM process.
· Basic structure of an effective reporting system.
· Bridging the completion of the SRM process and the Safety Assurance components of the SMS process.
· Detailed step-by-step descriptions of the SRM processes that have been used at airports of various sizes and on issues of differing degrees of complexity.
The final deliverables will include: (1) the guidebook on the SRM process and (b) a final report that documents the entire project.
Status: Research is underway.