SM ICG Hosts Industry Day Event in Helsinki, Finland Focused on Benefits and Challenges of SMS Assessments
The Safety Management International Collaboration Group (SM ICG) came together in Helsinki, Finland from June 5th through the 9th to continue their collaboration on common Safety Management System (SMS) and State Safety Program (SSP) topics of interest. Twenty-six representatives from fourteen member authorities gathered for a full week program that included a one day plenary session, three working project meeting days, as well as a separate Steering Committee agenda. A highlight of the week was the Industry Day outreach event, which included over 90 aviation service providers and civil aviation authority representatives. EASA Safety Management Technical Advisory Body Members were able to join Industry Day to listen to presentations from industry specialists about their experiences with Authority Safety Management System Assessments.
The SM ICG was established in 2009 to promote a common understanding of safety management principles and requirements, facilitating their application across the international aviation community. Since its formation, the group has published over 30 products, and several have been translated into numerous languages. Over the years, the SM ICG has increased outreach to the greater international aviation community. The SM ICG began hosting Industry Day events in 2012, and they quickly became a critical component of the SM ICG bi-annual meetings. The events provide a forum for aviation service providers in the hosting country to hear directly from a group of authorities from across the world, and for those authorities to receive feedback on SM ICG products and future topics of interest to the industry.
Kirsi Lähteenmäki-Riistama, Chief of Flight Operations and Training of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to the event. She walked through a brief history of SMS in the aviation industry and said, “There has been a shift as the implementation of SMS has evolved. Assessments influence compliance, but in addition to that, they influence the assessment of effectiveness.” She talked about the change of mindset that has been required on both the part of the authority and the aviation organizations. She emphasized, “As the maturity of SMS develops in the organizations, the authority has to keep pace. The main advantage has been that by closely following operators’ SMS implementation and especially the evolution of SMS, it has given a new window for the authority to get a more comprehensive picture of organizations business and management including achievements and possible challenges.”
Eugene Huang from the Aviation Safety organization within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and 2023 SM ICG Chair, thanked Traficom for hosting the SM ICG throughout the week and for organizing the Industry Day event. He highlighted the importance of these meetings in learning from the regional industry to help the SM ICG create better products. “To that end, we are in the process of creating a more formalized approach to be able to actively and continuously engage in collecting this industry feedback.” He noted that in addition to gathering feedback about what existing products are most beneficial and what could use clarification, the process will allow industry to review draft products as stakeholders. He said that he would share more on the process as it is further developed.
Over the course of the day, eight industry members presented on topics related to the event’s theme—Industry Benefits and Challenges with Authority Safety Management System Assessments. Presentations were given by Ville Kemppinen (Finnair Ltd), Mirva Janhunen (ANS Finland), Heikki Pöllänen (Finavia Ltd), Sophie Rougé (Airbus Ltd), Kim Juhala (Finnish Military Aviation Authority), David Beausang (CityJet DAC), Mikko Oksaoja (Coptersafety Ltd), and Ann-Mari Sunabacka-Starck (Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority).The briefings are available for download on the SM ICG SKYbrary site.
After each presentation, presenters fielded questions that were submitted by attendees through an online portal. Questions included the best way to share best practices or lessons learned across a large organization and between organizations; how to tailor SMS assessments to be commensurate with smaller and less complex organizations; what types of assessments and what type of feedback are most valuable; and how to combat complacency. The audience benefited from the wide range of perspectives—from aviation industry organizations both large and small, the Military Aviation Authority, as well as experiences from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. Key themes heard throughout the day were the benefits of sharing best practices throughout industry; the importance of having the right auditor (in terms of training and knowledge); how internal audits can feed and support external ones; and the criticality of ongoing dialogue and communication throughout and in-between the assessment process.
Mr. Huang closed the meeting by thanking the industry representatives for their participation and sharing their feedback. He noted that from the meeting, the SM ICG has gathered key takeaways that they will use to inform their future work. He said, “Regardless of the industry, the same challenges appear. We need to come together and figure out better ways to make everyone’s jobs easier to understand so we can all be on the same page. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to make everything safer.”
Industry Day Event Archive
The SM ICG, a group of 18 aviation regulatory bodies, was established in 2009. Since its formation, the group has produced over 30 products and has begun to focus more on outreach to the greater international aviation community. To that end, the SM ICG holds Industry Day events during its semi-annual meetings. Read more about other SM ICG Industry Day events.