Monday, May 9, 2016

When Safety Policy Is A Regulatory Requirement

Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) requires the Safety Management System (SMS) for airports and airlines to have a safety policy in place for regulatory compliance to operate under CARs 302 or 705. This safety policy sets targets for objectives and goals to conform to regulatory requirements. CARs are performance based regulations, where results of operational processes are the determining factors for compliance.

There are two parts for Safety Management System CARs compliance. One is design of regulatory compliance, or layout of the plans, while the other is the operational processes for regulatory compliance, or layout for expected outputs.  Regulatory compliance is documented in a manual with descriptions of requirements and operational process regulatory compliance are descriptions of how an airport, or airline plan to execute operations and collect data.

Operational safety polices comes in any forms and shapes.
Transport Canada developed a set of expectations for regulatory compliance. These expectations, while short coming in some areas, are guidance for developing regulatory compliant documents, or manuals. Regulatory compliance is simple, since it happens in a static environment without operational interaction or movements. On the other hand, operational process compliance is complex, since there are millions of variables, both internal and external variables which affect the outcome of processes. Regulatory process compliance becomes available only after review of data collection, or in other words, after the fact. It is not possible to predict the future with processes for compliance, and the data therefore has to speak for itself. However, regulatory compliance, or the layout of the plan, is future-predictable.

CARs 107.02 is applicable to both an applicant and a holder of an airport, or airline certificate. The certificate is an authority to operate and without a certificate there is no operations taking place. An applicant is not authorized to operate, while an operator is. That an operator has an authority to operate doesn’t change 107.02 to be applicable to operational processes.

CARs 107.03 is applicable to both airports and airlines to have in place a safety policy on which the system is based. As long as the safety policy is in place there is regulatory compliance. There is no requirement for operations to take place for this safety policy to be regulatory compliant.

The operational process for regulatory compliance are governed by 302.502 for airports and 705.152 for airlines. A safety policy for airports under 302.502 and airlines under 705.152 have actions involved, which is that the accountable executive has approved and communicated the safety policy to all personnel. Further, no matter how many operational errors, or findings there are under 302.502, or 705.152, these findings do not change applicability to become findings under Canadian Aviation Regulations 107.02.

Examples that findings under 302.502 or 705.152 do not convert to 107.02 findings can simplified be explained by comparing aviation to highway travel. Generally speaking, there are two important regulatory requirements to operate a highway, which are markings and signs. Markings and signs are planned, developed and installed prior to highway operations. It is known, or predicted, where these signs and markings will be when the highway is completed. These markings and signs are the highway’s safety policy, with maximum speed established on a sign or marking that clearly identify the limits.

Speed bugs for operational compliance.
As the highway opens and become operational the users must have processes in place to stay within the markings and conform to regulatory compliance of the signs. If the sign is a maximum speed sign, operators, or drivers must have in place processes to stay at or below this speed limit. These processes could be application of cruise control, manual speed control, a speedometer, or manipulation of a manual gear shift. How the result is achieved is irrelevant to conform to regulatory compliance, as long as processes produce desired results.

After data is collected, results are analyzed and assessed for operational compliance. If the majority of drivers violates the speed limit, does affect the system of how markings and signs are planned, developed and installed.

Non-confirming highway users are not charged, or made findings, under the system of planning, developing and installing markings and signs, but under the operational component of maximum speed limits. This could be compared to airport and airlines, where CARs 302.502, or 705.152 operational findings remains operational findings and do not convert to CARs 107.02 system findings.