For those of you familiar with the Canadian approach to Safety in Aviation, and the changes coming to the role of the Regulator, you might be interested in watching the announcements of the Auditor General today, as her report is being rolled out at or just after 2:00 EDT today.
She has a chapter on her findings relating to the introduction of SMS - Safety Management Systems... a sysstem relying on much more self monitoring of safety within the industry itself.
While there are great things to be achieved by requiring the industry to become much more proactive in managing safety internally, the role of the regulator, and the intensity of the oversight is obviously being questioned.
As this process is becoming more popular with the international community, and the FAA as well, I expect that news of this approach is of interest to everyone...
Messed up the url...
Here's the extract for Chapter 3...
Chapter 3"”Oversight of Air Transportation Safety"”Transport Canada"”The audit examined how Transport Canada has managed the transition to a new approach to air safety oversight. The new approach changes the Department's oversight role from a focus on direct inspection to primarily assessing the processes that aviation companies have in place to ensure safety. The chapter looks at how Transport Canada managed the transition by the first sectors to make the shift"”airline operators and some aircraft maintenance companies.
And here's the actual report...
OAG May Report
See Chapter 3
Falkin, thanks for posting this link. I will definitely check it out today. I must confess, I was closely following the U.S. presidential election, and haven't had a chance to look at it yet. Looks like we finally have a nominee! Thanks again for the information.
I am sure that you all will be hearing about SMS in the future, and it isn't all bad. In fact anything like this being imposed on the industry will improve safety. The biggest risk is the transition period, and the temptation to the regulator to reduce his effort in the inspection part of the oversight program.
In Canada there are signs that TC will be significantly reducing their inspections based on the faith that SMS in the field will reduce the need. There is no data to support that hypothesis, and plenty of indication (SA111, AA, Southwest, Saber, etc.) to indicate that feet on the ground and eyes in the field are the only way to ensure compliance in the long run.
Transport 2000 Canada
May 9, 2008
Auditor General slams Transport Canada air safety plan
Federal bureaucrats have failed to examine the potential consequences before pushing ahead with the controversial change to let individual aviation firms not federal inspectors oversee the safety of their operations," the Toronto Star reported.
"Under SMS ( safety management system), government inspectors who once did detailed, hands-on examinations of airline safety now simply review safety findings sent in by each firm's own staff," the Star reported on May 7.
"They're building this structure on quicksand in my opinion," said Virgil Moshansky, a retired Alberta justice who headed a public inquiry into the 1989 Air Ontario crash in Dryden that killed 24 people. "While there are other countries that have adopted SMS systems, there isn't one in the world that is putting aside traditional regulatory oversight," the paper reported.
Transport 2000 Canada testifed in opposition to these amendments during committee hearing on Aeronautics Act last spring. The bill is currently before the House of Commons.
See the entire Toronto Star article...
Falkin, this is a terrible idea. Lack of oversight by the FAA, specifically of the 3rd party company, Santa Barbara Aerospace and the entertainment system installed on the Swissair 111 aircraft, is why the jet crashed. I'm very surprised that the Canadian government would think this was a good idea. To assume that all companies put safety rather than profit at the top of their priorities is very foolish.
The theory is that putting safety management into the companies on a formal basis is probably good. Monitoring that process is also a good idea. Thinking that it allows one to reduce the on site inspections for compliance is a terrible one - especially without and data showing the SMS is working in the company.
I expect that like all other endeavors, there will be companies that self regulate well, and those that will use the opportunity to maximize profite. And again, the trick is to know which companies are the good guys, and which are the bad guys. Predicting outcomes in that area is demonstrably wrong.
I'll be posting a talk being given in Ottawa in June that will be extremely relevant to this issue. The Speaker - Justice Virgil Moshansky. Justice Moshansky headed up the Dryden Inquiry, and has been advocating more intense oversight By Transport Canada ever since. He's even recommended a Commission of Inquiry be undertaken every 10 years as a regular method of stopping the inevitable dropping of everyones guard over time.
As the auditor general pointed out, it will be a much more daunting task to implement SMS effectively into the remaining industry sectors. Evidence strongly suggests that TCCA is already lax in it's oversight of the 703 (air taxi) operators, and unless that is corrected before the implementation of SMS it will only result (IMHO) in something similar to what happened with the business sector. (Globe and Mail)
I will be very interested in reading Justice Moshansky's speech. When and where is this taking place?
falkinn 2002 posted information regarding the presentation here:
System Safety Society Presentation - Ottawa
I'll have to see if I can go...
See my update in the referenced thread re the presentation.
Unfortunately Justice Moshansky won't be able to make it, but a substitute speaker is being arranged.
The update of the presentation is in the other thread. The presenter now scheduled co-authored the paper, and so is well qualified to present it. See the new announcement for details.
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