Rising to the challenge - the key to SMS success - Baines Simmons
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Rising to the challenge – the key to SMS success

Baines Simmons were proud to be a sponsor and to present at the 22nd Maintenance Human Factors Symposium held by the Royal Aeronautical Society in May.
Human Factors Symposium

The prestigious two day event in London was supported by the UK CAA, Transport Canada and the US Federal Aviation Administration. 160 delegates from across the aviation industry worldwide met to share success stories of the benefits of effective Human Factors initiatives and to discuss how to move Human Factors and Safety Management Systems forward into the next decade.

David King, Chief Inspector of Air Accidents at the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, laid down the challenge in his keynote address that despite the best efforts and good intentions of the industry little had changed since the symposium began in the late 1990s.

This was enthusiastically countered by many of the subsequent presenters including Keven Baines who had been invited to give a presentation entitled “SMS for Business Performance or Regulatory Compliance?”

The missing link

In a recent survey conducted by Baines Simmons, 92% of respondents stated that they were actively involved with developing a Safety Management System. However, Keven’s presentation highlighted that there was frequently an under-appreciation of the link between unwanted losses and the overall financial performance of the business. Many organizations have been unable to demonstrate a return on investment for Human Factors and Error Management; not because the return is not there, but because the financial implications of preventing repeated errors or loss of operational capability is neither well understood nor measured.

Keven Baines

Baines Simmons Managing Director, Keven Baines, who gave an inspirational presentation on the importance of an effective SMS.

Part of the problem, Keven stated, was that Human Factors and Error Management had been “regulated into existence” and many organizations had simply adopted a programme with the required features to demonstrate compliance to the regulator. A measure of features, he warned, is not a measure of effectiveness.

With the introduction of Safety Management Systems, Keven asserted that the industry and the regulator have the opportunity to learn from past lessons and that the key to success is sound financial data on which to base better judgements, together with board level understanding of the link between financial performance and flight safety.

And responding to David King’s challenge, Keven provided the audience with many examples from Baines Simmons’ ongoing partnerships with clients where organizations have made significant progress, producing evidence of mature reporting, intelligent interventions and simple defences which are indicative of organizations embracing Human Factors and Error Management and using them to their business advantage.