Navigating The Maze Of SMS Jargon

Do you sometimes find yourself lost in the maze of jargon that surrounds SMS?


In any language, it is a matter of identifying and addressing challenges as early as possible. How can you establish systems to gather and apply predictive data?

Most likely, frontline employees see the hazards before management does. Predictive data, therefore, must be worker-centered. Companies must make it easy for employees to speak up. Voluntary reporting systems are likely the best means to achieve this goal.

FAA cooperates with the industry through programs such as the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). It protects workers from FAA action when they report mistakes early. Progressive companies use ASAP as a means to report not only events but also to report the conditions that may lead to events.

Another new program created by FAA with the Airlines for America (A4A) (formerly Air Transport Association), is the Maintenance and Ramp Line Operations Safety Assessment system (MRLOSA). MRLOSA is a formal means for workers to conduct peer-to-peer assessments during normal operations. Such data may be the very best means to gather and use predictive data.

The bottom line, the SMS maze is not that complex. This article has shown that the SMS requirement for reactive, proactive, and predictive data is straightforward. It is already aligned with many of your existing data systems. The SMS guidance makes good logical safety sense.

About the Author: Dr. William Johnson has spent more than 30 years as senior executive and scientist for engineering companies specializing in technical training and human factors before joining FAA in 2004. He is also an aviation maintenance technician and a pilot, and has been for more than 45 years.

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