Is Your SMS Reactive, Proactive, or Predictive?
Safety Management Systems are here to stay. Essentially, SMS is crucial to our industry because it ensures the highest level of safety in a profession where failure can turn fatal. But why do we distinguish between three different approaches to SMS: Reactive, proactive, and predictive?
This article explores three different approaches to SMS – and explains why they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
React and Respond
The reactive approach to SMS is characterised by responding to safety events, incidents, or accidents AFTER they have occurred. Organisations that react tend to focus on investigating and analysing the underlying causes – to implement corrective actions which prevent a similar event from occurring.
Reactive SMS revolves around lessons learned from past incidents which are used to improve safety in the future. This approach is thus crucial to understanding and addressing existing safety issue, but it fails to take potential events into account – due to the sole focus on past events that have taken place
Prevent and Manage
A proactive SMS reflects a preventive approach to managing safety risks. This means that the organisation aims to identify potential hazards, assess safety risks, and implement procedures to mitigate those risks BEFORE an incident or accident occurs.
Whereas the reactive approach focuses on the past, the proactive approach seeks to create a safety culture which encourages employees to become ambassadors of safety. This includes a continuing focus on safety assessments, audits, training, communication, and reporting.
Organisations which adopt a proactive SMS approach are more likely to reduce safety events and improve overall safety performance.
Predict and Act
The predictive SMS approach takes safety management a step further by using data, trends, and statistics to anticipate potential safety risks and take preventive actions accordingly. This is something you will definitely need to include in your process if you want to succeed in managing changes of your organisation.
Data could include safety reports, maintenance records, flight data, and the like, which contribute to identifying patterns of potential safety issues pertinent to the organisation. Data analysis helps the organisation to implement preventive measures which ensures a high safety level across the organisation.
A Three-Fold SMS
It is important to note that a reactive, proactive, and predictive SMS approach are not mutually exclusive. In fact, organisations may benefit from employing all three strategies to create a robust safety framework.
One thing is for sure: The reactive approach cannot improve SMS in the long run. Instead of merely reacting, organisations should proactively manage safety risks – thus protecting their customers, employees, assets, reputation, and integrity in the entire industry of aviation.
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Is Your SMS Reactive, Proactive, or Predictive?
Safety Management Systems are here to stay. Essentially, SMS is crucial to our industry because it ensures the highest level of safety in a profession where failure can turn fatal. But why do we distinguish between three different approaches to SMS?