Avionics News September 2016 - 36

SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

to conduct daily surveillance of activities that includes the
various aspects of the SMS process.

Canada's Rocky Mountain Aircraft
implements AEA's SMS program
To get a real-world look at implementing the AEA's SMS
program, Avionics News chatted with Randy Lee, quality
assurance manager for Rocky Mountain Aircraft in Calgary,
Alberta, Canada, about his company's recent implementation
of the AEA's SMS program. Below is an excerpt from that
Q&A.

What was the biggest surprise that came out of
the SMS audit process?
The biggest was realizing that, for the most part, it's
what we were already doing. Good organizations are
already recognizing hazards and risks, assessing changes
and implementing appropriate corrective actions. It's what
aircraft maintenance is based on. The main difference now
is that the process requires documentation, data collection
and analysis. It is now possible to observe and detect trends
that result in a more predictive approach to managing
hazards and risks to the organization. Reactive is easy, it's
the predictive-to-proactive part that's harder.

Continued from page 35

What was your goal for developing/implementing
your SMS program?
The Canadian Aviation Regulations prescribed our initial
implementation of a safety management system. SMS is
mandatory for our shop to maintain the status as an approved
maintenance organization and to be able to perform our
applicable scope of activities.
What was the biggest challenge to implementing
your SMS program?
When we started in the mid-2,000s, understanding
the regulator's expectations and translating that in an
integrated and functional way, as part of doing aircraft
maintenance on a day-to-day basis, was challenging. There
was no blueprint to follow; just a rough guideline to build
policy and procedures. Where there typically would have
been standards to follow to develop acceptable means
of compliance, a shift in government policy resulted in
the new regulations to not be prescriptive. Now there
are Transport Canada advisory circulars as guidance to
program implementation.
What were some of the biggest changes to developing your
shop's SMS procedures?
There were not challenges, but more of a change to our
existing procedures. We integrated a reporting system,
implemented additional, ongoing training, and added another
aspect to the already existing quality assurance system for
investigation, evaluation, corrective action and follow-up. We
also scheduled communication and feedback through weekly,
monthly and quarterly meetings. We added methods for analysis
of the data derived from reporting and evaluations. And we
implemented proactive assessments of the shop's activities.
How have you implemented those changes
into your everyday work process?
The new Approved Maintenance Policy Manual contains
the policies to be followed. Reporting can be made using
forms that are readily available or online through the AEA
portal. We've stressed the importance of making it a habit
36

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september

2016

How have your employees taken to new procedures
and processes?
It's a young group, and many are already arriving with
initial training that includes SMS, so there's been little
or no resistance to the processes. Even the old-timers are
on board. Again, in the mid-2,000s, some of the local
organizations, who were mostly quality assurance managers
at the time, got together with an independent trainer of
regulations and human factors, to try and come to grips
with what was expected.
We knew there was going to be no way to avoid it and
that it was likely for the best. A sort of industry-driven
momentum, in our area at least, resulted around that time
with more gatherings and initial training that even the local
regulator participated in.
Was there any initial resistance from your employees?
Resistance may not be the correct word. Everyone
in aviation is used to complying with regulations and
maintenance instructions to ensure the safety of personnel
and aircraft. Reluctance to report hazards, arising from the
human factors complacency and a lack of assertiveness,
would be more the issue.
Reporting typically bad news may not be readily
accepted by all organizations, pending culture. That's why
the regulations specified a nonpunitive commitment by
organizations at implementation.
If people are punished for reporting safety issues, the
system fails before it starts. For us, and probably most
organizations, once the system was established and there
was an understanding, reporting flowed and continues
to do so. It's hard to have success with SMS if there is
no reporting. Everyone gets safety even if they forget to
practice it from time to time.
Continued on page 38



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News September 2016

No label
Avionics News September 2016 - Intro
Avionics News September 2016 - No label
Avionics News September 2016 - Cover2
Avionics News September 2016 - 1
Avionics News September 2016 - 2
Avionics News September 2016 - 3
Avionics News September 2016 - 4
Avionics News September 2016 - 5
Avionics News September 2016 - 6
Avionics News September 2016 - 7
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Avionics News September 2016 - 36
Avionics News September 2016 - 37
Avionics News September 2016 - 38
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Avionics News September 2016 - 79
Avionics News September 2016 - 80
Avionics News September 2016 - Cover3
Avionics News September 2016 - Cover4
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