A Safety Management System (SMS) is a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structure, accountabilities, policies and processes. SMSs provide organizations with a powerful framework of safety philosophy, tools and methodologies that improve their ability to understand, construct and manage proactive safety systems. In order to reinforce the notion of safety management being a managerial process, the new International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety management requirements include provisions for an organization to establish lines of safety accountability throughout the organization, as well as the senior management level. SMS is based on leadership and accountability. It requires proactive hazard identification, risk management, information control, auditing and training. It also includes incident and accident investigation and analysis.
The requirements impose upon States the responsibility to establish a safety program and, as part of such a program, require that air operators, maintenance organizations, air traffic service providers and certified aerodrome operators implement a SMS. These requirements can be found in ICAO SARPs together with ORO.GEN.200 and associated AMCs. Together with this, the requirements impose on States the responsibility to establish an acceptable level of safety for the activities under consideration.
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