Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Transport Canada - Aviation Safety Letter Safety Management Systems (SMS) for Canadian Helicopter Operators

Safety Management Systems (SMS) for Canadian Helicopter Operators

by Jacqueline Booth-Bourdeau, Chief, Technical and National Programs, Standards, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

Safety management system (SMS) regulations impacting the Canadian helicopter industry are expected in 2009. The Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) reflect the SMS principles established by bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and, in many respects, exceed the basic requirements. Over the years, Transport Canada (TC) has actively supported domestic and international activities relating to SMS through training, working group participation and the provision of feedback to other aviation authorities and organizations. This has provided TC with the opportunity to ensure that the interests of the Canadian aviation industry are heard, while providing the occasion to share ideas and learn from the experience of others. The knowledge acquired from participating in these activities has been used to enhance TC’s comprehensive set of guidance materials, including material specifically designed for smaller operators.

As the knowledge level in the industry increases, we are seeing initiatives emerge, such as the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) SMS tool kit. This work will help to enhance our understanding of SMS in smaller organizations and make the prospect of implementation simpler. While no off-the-shelf package is ever a perfect fit —it must be tailored to meet the individual needs of the organization—tool kits like the one offered by the IHST provide a good starting point for implementation. With a little adaptation, operators can take this tool kit and form the basis of their SMS.

An effective implementation strategy will naturally involve changes in processes and procedures and will almost certainly involve a shift in the corporate culture. Getting the foundation of the SMS right will facilitate this and provide a framework that promotes a healthier safety culture. The success of the system will hinge on the development of processes that foster continual improvement through proactive safety assessments and quality assurance.


This article was published by Transport Canada in TP 185 Issue 4/2008 -. Reprinted with permission

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