A Businesslike Approach To SMS
Another thought provoking post from frequent blogger Helena1320
A businesslike approach to Safety Management System (SMS) is to establish a budget for incidents and accidents with established budget goals. SMS is believed to be a cost savings from accident prevention and promoted as having enormous cost savings benefits. Nothing could be farther from the facts. SMS is nothing else but another operational cost, just as any other operational costs.
The cost effectiveness of SMS is not how many fewer accidents there are, but how cost of SMS is managed in a businesslike system. If an SMS system could predict future accidents, or lack of future accidents, operations of airport and airlines affected would have to cease operations during those hours or minutes when SMS had predicted accidents or incidents.
For an enterprise to identify cost savings there must be one or more defined activities attached to that identification. A virtual, or future prediction of non-accidents are fantasy wishes. SMS is only as effective as collected data explains reliability of processes involved. That an airport, or airline with zero accidents and a good safety track record does not equal a prediction that future airport operation, or next flight would not encounter unexpected events and cause an accident. These unexpected events are variables, and becomes effective at the moment there is presence of kinetic energy.
There is only one way to manage cost of SMS is to take a businesslike approach to safety. The first step to a businesslike approach is to define and apply a cost factor to operations of the Safety Management System and establish a weight to cost factors of undesired events. Budget cost factor is an applied weight to operational cost and are in all instances $ 1.00 per second of time spent on categories, events, hazards, incidents, or accident tasks. This is not the same as predict future events, but to make a cost factor applicable to non-desired budgeted events. Cost of safety is nothing else but an operational cost just as there is a cost to goods sold, or a cost to services provided.
A successful business would not consider to operate without cash flow directives, goals and a budget. However, in SMS for aviation, the accepted concept is that the more cash an airport or airline spend on safety, the more they will save as a cost saving from accident prevention.
When it comes to SMS in aviation, airports and airlines are operating in the blind without a budget applied to cost of safety. When the savings of safety becomes the cost savings from accident preventions there is no strategy business solutions, or businesslike approach of their SMS system.
There is an operational cost to safety that cannot be avoided. This cost becomes a cost factor applied to time spent on accidents or incidents reports, analysis, investigations and corrective actions. An airline crash with multiple fatalities could have a cost of $ 31,536,000.00 while a smaller accident could have a cost of $3,600.00. That an airport or airline do not experience these accidents does equal cost savings from accident prevention, or a savings of millions. In other words, SMS is not a saving in the value of accidents that did not occur.
When applying safety, accidents and incidents to the equation, an enterprise does not apply the correct parameters. If any airport or airline are to budget for how many accidents they plan for this year, the answer is zero. By default, human nature does not wish to plan for accidents and the flying public do not accept accidents. When applying safety, or lack of accidents as goals, the process output becomes incorrect and root causes to accidents are concealed.
The question to ask is what the cost of safety is worth for an airport or airline. When applying this businesslike strategy approach to safety it becomes possible to address processes that are not desirable and could cause unexpected events.
The future cannot be predicted since there are millions of variables in a kinetic energy environment. The only time an airport or airline is guaranteed a safe future without accidents, is when there is no movement. When applying cost of safety in a cost factor budget to safety, it becomes possible to manage and reduce cost of safety to a desirable goal. When a cost factor budget is compared to actual operational cost, airports and airlines have established the bar to shoot for when setting cost factor goals for the next operating budget and apply this cost factor to accident and incident management.