SMS within a Design Organisation – How On Earth?

Just a quick note to say that Airborne Systems Ltd had extended the contract with THI SMS beyond 6 months until March 2016. It is fantastic to know that THI is providing a valued service and that Safety Management Systems can both open doors in business and improve the safety culture of an organisation. Business promotion bit done!

Strangely, Airborne Equipment is not subject to the same stringent regulations that apply to aircraft but I’m delighted to say that Airborne Systems, who strive to be World leaders in safety, do not just adopt these more stringent regulations but use them as a baseline from which to start safety. The creation and adoption of a ‘Design Organisation Safety Model’ that starts with Hazard Identification for any new piece of equipment is an example. These hazards which have been facilitated using a highly SQEP panel, then feeds the Design process to create ‘Critical Design Features’. This then provides instruction to the production/assembly engineers to ensure hazards have been succesfully ‘designed out’. It is recognized that the ‘weak link’ in any system is the human being and by designing out the hazard and not relying on procedures and initial/repeat training as the mitigation we are creating a safer product. The human is continually surrounded by the dreaded ‘error zone’ which is a combination of distractions both within the workplace and the individual’s private life. By removing removing the hazard at source everyone wins!
The Design Organisation Safety Model is then further supported by Quality and Compliance. Quality provides the essential independent check (humans can become so engrossed in what they do that they become ‘too close’, or perhaps become complacent due to familiarity or low arousal). Quality checks at key moments provides assurance that tasks have been completed to standard and then provide an auditable evidence trail which is excellent for accreditation audits (CAA/MAA etc). Compliance provide an overarching oversight, ensuring that the model is being followed and is effective.
The final pieces in the puzzle are to ensure customer feedback (incident reports, unsatisfactory feature reports, queries etc) are considered for Safety Assessment Reviews and to encourage open reporting from within the company to report any concerns/hazards spotted. Simple!

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