Sunday, October 23, 2016

Review Your Safety Policy

There is an expectation that the safety policy is reviewed periodically for continuing applicability. A safety policy establishes guidance for safety objectives and goals for the safe operation of an airport or aircraft. A safety policy is a practical applied document and tailored to each operator for the purpose of being accepted by all personnel within the organization.  Policies that are not accepted by all personnel are impractical to operations and more of a deterrent to safety than no policy at all. A policy that is influenced by a third-party requirement is a not an unfettered policy and is also a deterrent for the safe operation of an airport or aircraft.

A Safety Policy is based on data only.
The expectation that the safety policy is reviewed periodically is to identify processes that has influenced the policy and that the policy is still applicable to detected, or undetected changes of operations. There are several parties involved in airport or airline operations, from tenants, customers, auditors and the environment itself. When there is interference in development, or maintenance of a safety policy the policy sets the stage for unexpected, or undecided results.  

When operational changes go undetected they becomes “normal” to operations. A policy may at first sight appear to be applicable indefinite, since at the time of implementation its intentions were to promote safety and if the policy is questioned, or reviewed it could appear to be an attack on safety itself.  Over the history of aviation, it has been unheard of to question safety. However, by allowing for a safety review of the policy, or in other words question safety, new doors are opened for continuous improvement to aviation safety.

Almost safe doesn’t cut it.
Reviewing the safety policy is a responsibility of the accountable executive. This does not necessary imply that the accountable executive, who often is removed from the operational processes, does the actual review, but implies that the accountable executive accepts accountability to the safety policy itself. This renewed safety policy is then signed by accountable executive and promoted throughout the organization with explanation of why these changes were necessary for the safe operations of airport or aircraft.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Promotion of Safety Policy

There is an expectation that the safety policy is promoted by the accountable executive. Without promotion a safety policy is ineffective, but when actively promoted by accountable executive, who is senior management of an airport, or airline, the safety policy becomes personal and the most important safety document in the organization. A safety policy must be clear, policy specific, overview of organizational structure and include a commitment to continually improve safety.

Accountability is to apply the intent of a safety tool.
A Safety Management System is from the top-down safety management system, with roles and responsibilities for top management and all personnel.  One of the top management roles is the safety role as accountable executive with a responsibility to promote the safety policy.

The reason why it is important who promotes the safety policy is to establish an organizational commitment to safety. The policy must be promoted by someone who has organizational authority to promote and who has safety authority respected in the organization. Often the accountable executive is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the airport, or airline. If the airport, or airline is operated by a government, the accountable executive may be the highest ranking non-elected person, or even an elected political person. However, if the organization is of a large size and complexity, the CEO may be too far removed from reality for an effective role as accountable executive. Statements and policies from a political elected person, or a highest ranking non-elected person, who has been assigned role as an accountable executive, may be viewed as nothing else but political statement without any powers to impact personnel at other organizational levels. The success of a safety policy is viewed from the ground up.
Respect is a result of accountability.
When the expectation is that the accountable executive promotes the safety policy, the intent is for the highest organizational role to be responsible for safety. One of the requirements to qualify as accountable executive is that the person has control over financial and human resources. The regulations, or expectations do not state, or imply that the accountable executive has to be the person who allocate, or distributes funds, or the person who assign human resources. The only requirement is that the person has to be in control of these items. In a large organization, a person at one or more levels below the CEO may be the person who has control over financial and human resources. This is the person who then should be appointed as the accountable executive for this position to be an effective safety tool.

When the accountable executive at an accountable organizational level promotes the safety policy it becomes an authorial document that other personnel will accept and further accept their own accountability role within the organization of an airport or airline. Accountability is not just at the top management level, but at all levels in the organization. Everyone are accountable to their own job description, accountable to the intent of their job performance and accountable to aviation safety.