Safety Management Systems: Four Key Elements

Nicola Tims
June 30, 2020

Earlier this year, we took a look at the International Helicopter Safety Foundation (IHSF)’s 2018 global survey results, where the results highlighted four areas that offer the most significant opportunities to prevent helicopter accidents:

1. Safety Management Systems (SMS)
2. Structured programs for initial and recurrent training
3. Mission-specific systems and equipment, including:
     a. Health & usage monitoring systems (HUMS)
     b. Flight data monitoring (FDM) programs
     c. Night vision goggles
     d. Wire strike protection
4. Structured programs to fully comply with manufacturers’ recommended maintenance practices

The foundation have now released the results of the 2019 survey, where they saw a 49% increase in participation compared to 2017 - a total of 1,922 responses from 113 different countries.

Consistent with previous results over the past two years, the most fundamental of the IHSF’s recommendations, which supports all of the other recommendations, is for Safety Management Systems (SMS). 

The IHSF emphasise four key elements of an SMS as being:

1. Policy and Objectives
2. Risk Management
3. Assurance, and
4. Promotion

We’ve got a free eBook available to download, where it covers some practical steps you can take to build a SMS that will meet the needs of your particular operation, increase its efficiency and success in the process, and make you compliant with ICAO regulations. Get it for free here.

You can also view the results of the survey here.

To see other recommendations from the IHSF and to take advantage of some of the IHSF’s free SMS toolkits and other safety management materials here.

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