Safety Management System

The development of policies and means of ensuring civil aviation safety stems from both technological advancements and improvements in organization and management methods. The way the safety issue has been addressed changed gradually – from a misguided notion that human and material loss are inevitable, to a reactive, a calculative, and finally to a proactive and generative approach, aimed at improving safety standards in a systematic ad continuous manner.

Currently, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council requires the operators of certified airports to implement the Safety Management System (SMS), defined as a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policy and procedures. The system involves a proactive approach to safety management, targeted at preventing air accidents by collecting information and data from different sources, concerning potential threats, subsequent analysis of this data and undertaking adequate preventive and/or corrective measures, based on its results. Such a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the question of aviation safety allows for effective prevention of air accidents. The purpose of SMS is to ensure safety, construed as the state in which the risk of harm to persons or property damage is reduced to, and maintained at or below, an acceptable level through a continuing process of hazard identification and risk management.

SMS planning and implementation is a complex and collaborative process, involving all persons working at the airport whose activities may directly affect the safety of operation. The Safety Management Manual (ICAO Doc 9859) describes ten steps for implementing SMS:
  • planning,
  • senior management’s commitment to safety,
  • organization,
  • hazard identification,
  • risk assessment,
  • investigation capability,
  • safety analysis capability,
  • safety promotion and training,
  • safety management documentation and information management,
  • safety oversight and safety performance monitoring.

The Safety Management system implemented at Warsaw Chopin Airport is constantly being improved and was rated as adequate and efficient by Civil Aviation Office inspectors certifying the airport in 2007.