Basis of Implementation. Implementation of SMS in the SMS Pilot Projects is based upon meeting the expectations for a robust SMS as outlined in the SMS Framework document (PDF). This document is supported by the SMS Implementation Guide (PDF).

SMS Maturity Model

Phased Implementation. Initial SMS implementation strategy follows a four phased process similar to that outlined in the ICAO Safety Management Manual (SMM – ICAO doc. 9859). ICAO, as well as other governments that are in the process of implementing SMS requirements favors a phased implementation process. The phases of implementation are arranged in four levels of implementation "maturity", similar to that developed as the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) by the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie-Mellon University. This technique is employed by the U.K. Health and Safety Executive (HSE – equivalent to U.S. OSHA) as a safety culture maturity model.

  1. Level Zero: Orientation & Commitment is not so much a level as a status. It indicates that the Aviation Product/Service Provider has not started formal SMS development or implementation and includes the time period between an Aviation Product/Service Provider's first requests for information from the FAA on SMS implementation and when they commit to implementing an SMS. Level zero is a time for the Aviation Product/Service Provider to gather information, evaluate corporate goals and objectives and determine the viability of committing resources to an SMS implementation effort.
  2. Level One: Planning and Organization. Level 1 begins when an Aviation Product/Service Provider's Top Management commits to providing the resources necessary for full implementation of SMS throughout the organization (This presupposes a parallel commitment from the Certificate Management Team). Two principal activities make up level one:
    1. Gap Analysis: The first step in developing an SMS is for the organization to analyze its existing programs, systems, and activities with respect to the SMS functional expectations found in the SMS Framework. This analysis is a process and is called a "gap analysis," the "gaps" being those elements in the SMS Framework that are not already being performed by the Aviation Service Provider.
    2. Implementation Plan: Once the gap analysis has been performed, an Implementation Plan is prepared. The Implementation Plan is simply a "road map" describing how the Aviation Service Provider intends to close the existing gaps by meeting the objectives and expectations in the SMS Framework.
  3. Level Two: Reactive Process, Basic Risk Management. At this level, the Aviation Service Provider develops and implements a basic Safety Risk Management process. Information acquisition, processing, and analysis functions are implemented and a tracking system for risk control and corrective actions are established. At this phase, the Aviation Service Provider develops an awareness of hazards and responds with appropriate systematic application of preventative or corrective actions. This allows the organization to address problems as they occur and develop appropriate remedial action. For this reason, this level is termed "reactive." While this is not the final objective of an SMS, it is an important step in the evolution of safety management capabilities.
  4. Level Three: Proactive Processes, Looking Ahead. (Full-Up, Functioning SMS) Component 2.0 B) 2) a), of the SMS Framework expects safety risk management (SRM) to be applied to initial design of systems, processes, organizations, and products, development of operational procedures, and planned changes to operational processes. The activities involved in the SRM process involve careful analysis of systems and tasks involved; identification of potential hazards in these functions, and development of risk controls. The risk management process developed at level two is used to analyze, document, and track these activities. Because the organization is now using the processes to look ahead, this level is termed "proactive." At this level, however, these proactive processes have been implemented but their performance has not yet been proven.
  5. Level Four: Continuous Improvement, Continued Assurance. The final level of SMS maturity is the continuous improvement level. Processes have been in place and their performance and effectiveness have been verified. The complete Safety Assurance process, including continuous monitoring and the remaining features of the other SRM and SA processes are functioning. A major objective of a successful SMS is to attain and maintain this continuous improvement status for the life of the organization.