FAA updates proposed rule regarding airport adoption of SMS


On Oct. 7, 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register titled "Safety Management System for Certificated Airports." This original proposed rule required all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139 certificate holder airports to establish safety management systems. The FAA recently updated its ruling, which aims to improve the safety surrounding aviation-related traffic and activity.

What does the update to the proposed rule change?
As of the July 14 proposal revision, the only certificated airports that must adopt an SMS are: those classified as small, medium, or large hub airports in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems, those that service international air traffic, or those that have more than 100,000 total yearly operations. Additionally, the FAA suggested extending the SMS implementation deadline period from 18 to 24 months.

"An SMS is used to enhance the culture of safety."

Why did the FAA update its proposed rule?
Due to the heightened demands placed on the air transportation industry, the FAA initially created this rule as a way to improve the safety of those operating aircraft. In the updated ruling, the FAA writes that in the past, "the approach to aviation safety was based on the reactive analysis of past accidents and the introduction of corrective actions to prevent the recurrence of those events."

As with many other safety management techniques, a reactive approach is far less effective than being proactive about the health and security of those in the workplace. This is why the SMS standard was developed to allow airport operators to identify potential hazards, analyze those risks and mitigate them to prevent an incident. Essentially, an SMS is used to enhance the culture of safety within an airport.

When the NPRM was first published, the FAA received 65 comments, in which the commentators raised a variety of concerns regarding the complexity of the issue. As a result, the agency sought to provide airports with an extended implementation period and refocused the applicability of the proposed rule in order to maximize safety benefits in the least burdensome manner.

How can safety software assist in SMS compliance?
SMS is built upon four key tenets: Safety Policy, Safety Risk Management, Safety Assurance, and Safety Promotion. Safety software presents many tangible and direct benefits for eligible airports that must seek SMS compliance. Some of the main benefits of safety software are compliance with recordkeeping components, reduction of administrative overhead, an increase in employee involvement, an increase in efficiency and accuracy, and standardization of essential procedures and processes. Vector EHS Management Software can assist you in each of these areas.

Vector EHS Software can help your organizations achieve compliance with SMS by providing easy-to-use tools for tracking, notifying, and reporting on key safety data. Please visit our website or contact our team to learn more about Vector EHS Management today!

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