State Safety Programme (SSP)

State Safety Programme (SSP)


“A State safety programme (SSP) is an integrated set of regulations and activities aimed at improving safety.” (ICAO Doc 9859)


To achieve an acceptable level of safety of aviation services and products delivered by aviation service providers - aircraft operators, air navigation service providers, airport operators, training and maintenance organisations.


Annexes 1, 6, 8, 11, 13, 14, and 19 (Ch 3.1) to the Chicago Convention include the requirement for States to establish a State safety programme (SSP) aimed to achieve an acceptable level of safety in aviation operations. The objective of these paragraphs is to harmonise and extend provisions relating to safety management to all categories of aviation service providers - aircraft operators, air navigation service providers, certified aerodrome operators, maintenance organisations, organisations responsible for type design and/or assembly of aircraft and training organisations.

The framework for the implementation and maintenance of a State’s safety programme is contained in Chapter 11 of the ICAO SMM. It consists of four components and ten elements, outlined hereunder:

1. State’s Safety Policy and Objectives

a. CAA Safety Standards

The State has promulgated a national legislative framework and specific regulations to ensure compliance with international and national standards, and that define how the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will oversee the management of safety in the State. This includes the CAA’s participation in specific activities related to the management of safety in the State, and the establishment of the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of organisations in the system. The safety standards are periodically reviewed to ensure they remain relevant and appropriate to the State.

b. CAA Safety Responsibilities and Accountabilities

The State has identified and defined the CAA’s requirements, responsibilities and accountabilities regarding the establishment and maintenance of the State’s safety programme. This includes the directives to plan, organise, develop, control and continuously improve the State’s safety programme in a manner that meets the State’s safety needs. It also includes a clear statement about the provision of the necessary human and financial resources for the implementation of the State’s safety programme.

c. Accident and Incident Investigation

The State has established an independent accident and incident investigation process, the sole objective of which is to support the management of safety in the State and not the apportioning of blame on liability.

d. Enforcement Policy

The State has promulgated an enforcement policy that allows operators/service providers to deal with, and resolve, events involving safety deviations and minor violations internally, within the context of the operator/service provider safety management system (SMS), to the satisfaction of the authority. The enforcement policy includes provisions for the CAA to deal with events involving gross negligence and wilful deviations through established enforcement procedures.

2. State’s Safety Risk Management

a. Safety Requirements for Service Providers SMS

The CAA has established the controls which govern how operators/service providers will identify operational hazards and manage safety risks. This includes the requirements, specific operating regulations and implementation policies for operator's/service providers’ SMS. The requirements and specific operating regulations are periodically reviewed to ensure they remain relevant and appropriate to the operators/service providers.

b. Approval of Service Providers Acceptable Levels of Safety

The CAA has agreed on, and approved, acceptable levels of safety with individual operators/service providers. These acceptable levels of safety are commensurate to the complexity of individual operator's and service provider’s specific operational contexts and the availability of individual resources to address safety risks. The agreed acceptable levels of safety are expressed by multiple safety performance indicators and safety performance targets, never by a single one, as well as by safety requirements. The agreed acceptable levels of safety are periodically reviewed to ensure they remain relevant and appropriate to the operators/service providers.

3. State’s Safety Assurance

a. Safety Oversight

The CAA has established mechanisms to ensure that the identification of operational hazards and the management of safety risks by operators/service providers follow established regulatory controls (requirements, specific operating regulations and implementation policies). These mechanisms include inspections, audits and surveys to ensure that regulatory safety risk controls are appropriately integrated into the service providers’ SMS, that they are being practiced as designed, and that the regulatory controls have the intended effect on safety risks.

b. Safety Data Collection, Analysis and Exchange

The CAA has established mechanisms to ensure the capture and storage of data on operational hazards and safety risks at an aggregate State’s level. The CAA has also established mechanisms to develop information from the stored data, and to actively exchange safety information with service providers and/or other States as appropriate.

c. Safety Data Driven Targeting of Oversight on Areas of Greater Concern or Need

The CAA has established procedures to prioritize inspections, audits and surveys towards those areas of greater safety concern or need, as identified by the analysis of data on operational hazards and safety risks areas.

4. State’s Safety Promotion

a. Internal Training, Communication and Dissemination of Safety Information

The CAA provides training, awareness, and two-way communication of safety relevant information to support, within the CAA, the development of a positive organizational culture that fosters the development of an effective and efficient State’s safety programme.

b. External Training, Communication and Dissemination of Safety Information

The CAA provides education, awareness of safety risks and two-way communication of safety relevant information to support among services providers the development of a positive organizational culture that fosters safe practices, encourages safety communications and actively manages safety with the same attention to results as financial management.

Although the implementation and continued operation of safety management systems by operators/service providers is at the core of a State’s safety programme, the scope of the safety programme is much broader. It also includes safety activities assigned to State authorities, as well as management and development of interfaces between a wide spectrum of organisations and institutions sharing the responsibility for the safety of air operations. These organisations can be grouped in several broad categories:

Achieving acceptable levels of safety globally, regionally and locally requires that the interfaces between the entities in the above categories are also managed consistently.

ICAO recognises that there are circumstances where States should develop a State operated SMS. According to ICAO Doc 9859 - Safety Management Manual “…a State does not require an SMS for its regulatory and oversight functions. However, those States conducting flight operations, operating aerodromes or providing operational services (such as ATS, aeronautical information services and meteorological services) will require an SMS that is quite distinct from the safety programme implemented for the regulatory function of the CAA. The relationship between the regulatory authority and the regulated body should be the same whether the regulated body is an external entity or part of the State organization.”

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