VOLUME 17 SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
CHAPTER 3 SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM VOLUNTARY PROGRAM
Section 1 General
17-3-1-1 PURPOSE. This chapter provides guidance for Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service personnel to evaluate Safety Management
Systems (SMS) of certificate holders participating in the Safety Management System
Voluntary Program (SMSVP); and assists certificate holders with previous FAA SMS implementations and third-party SMSs in transitioning to the SMSVP.
NOTE: U.S. and international SMS initiatives and implementation efforts
underscore the importance of standardizing SMS applications, where possible.1
17-3-1-3 AUDIENCE. This chapter serves as guidance to assist Flight
Standards Safety Assurance and Office of Safety Standards personnel in SMS evaluation.
This chapter is expected to be used by certificate-holding offices (certificate
management offices (CMO) or certificate-holding district offices (CHDO)) whose
certificate holders have requested FAA recognition of their SMSs. A secondary
audience is certificate holders who want to implement an SMS accepted by the FAA.
NOTE: All SMS Pilot Program (SMSPP) participants were automatically
entered into the SMSVP and may remain in the SMSVP until required by regulation
to develop an SMS. For the purpose of this chapter, “CMT” refers to a Certificate
Management Team, a CMO/certificate management unit (CMU), or a Flight Standards
District Office (FSDO)/CHDO with certificate oversight responsibilities. Additional definitions are located in
Volume 17, Chapter 1, Section 1.
17-3-1-5 PURPOSE OF THE SMSVP. The SMSVP is how the FAA conforms
to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) definition of an SMS
“acceptable to the State.”2 An SMS required
by regulation or developed within this voluntary program meets or exceeds ICAO SMS requirements and will be accepted by other ICAO Member States.
NOTE: Certificate holders in the SMSVP must meet all program requirements to achieve and maintain FAA acceptance.
NOTE: Questions concerning this chapter should be directed to the Flight Standards
Safety Management System Program Office (SMSPO) National Coordinator at 703-230-7664 ext. 250, or
17-3-1-7 SMSVP PROCESS OVERVIEW. SMSVP implementation and validation
is a major configuration change to a certificate holder’s operational profile.
The procedure used and described in this section is based on the Major Change
Process contained in Volume 10, Chapter 11. The following process phases are defined
in Volume 17, Chapter 3, Section 2:
• Preparation Phase;
• CMT Implementation Plan Review Phase;
• Documentation Validation Phase;
• Design Demonstration Phase;
• Administrative Process Phase; and
• Continued Operational Safety (COS).
17-3-1-9 SMSPO RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY. The SMSPO is part of
the Safety Analysis and Promotion Division and is the Office of Primary Responsibility
(OPR) and focal point for Flight Standards SMS initiatives. As such, the SMSPO
“owns” the SMSVP and is responsible for development of guidance and job aids pertaining to the SMSVP.
17-3-1-11 SMSVP GENERAL INFORMATION. A certificate holder may develop and implement
an SMS in any manner it deems appropriate. However, when a certificate holder
requests FAA recognition of its SMS, the certificate holder must submit an implementation
plan to its CMT for validation against the SMSVP Standard. Guidance on implementation plan review and approval is located in
Volume 17, Chapter 3, Section 2, paragraph
A. Requesting Entry into the SMSVP. When requesting entry into
the SMSVP, certificate holders should send a letter or email to the SMS National
Coordinator at the address listed in subparagraph 17-3-1-13C. The letter must contain:
• A statement that your company’s top management is
committed to establishing and maintaining an SMS program within the organization.
• A commitment to dedicate the necessary financial and
personnel resources to implement and maintain the SMS.
• A request for entry into the FAA SMSVP.
• Signature(s) of a member or members of top management.
NOTE: After this request has been received by the SMSPO, coordination
will take place with the organization’s CMT to schedule dates for an initial briefing.
B. Monitoring Certificate Holders’ SMSVP Standard Conformance.
This chapter addresses SMS implementation within the SMSVP. Once the FAA recognizes
a certificate holder’s SMS, its CHDO will monitor ongoing conformity with the
SMSVP Standard. Failure to maintain SMSVP standards may result in the SMSPO
withdrawing the certificate holder’s “Active Conformance” status. Monitoring
ongoing conformity is accomplished using the Safety Assurance System (SAS) Data Collection Tools (DCT) for COS,
as discussed in Volume 10. If a nonconformity has been identified, the CMT will
use Element Performance Data Collection Tools (EP DCT) or the SMS Custom Data
Collection Tools (C DCT) in SAS to evaluate if the nonconformity is the result
of a performance or design issue with the SMS. Safety attributes assigned to
these questions will aid in the root cause evaluation of the process failure.
Once the failure has been determined, the certificate holder should be given
sufficient time to rewrite their processes, train, evaluate, and implement them
into their system. This could take 6 months to accomplish a “comprehensive review
and fix.” Once the certificate holder has developed their procedures and implemented
them, the CMT will reevaluate the area to ensure conformance with the SMSVP
Standard. Principal inspectors (PI) will record all nonconformities in SAS or
the Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) (as appropriate) to maintain
a record of the certificate holder’s corrective actions to ensure the certificate
holder has returned to SMSVP Standard conformance. This documentation will also be used to ensure conformance in future surveillance.
C. SMS Implementation Progress. After a letter requesting admission
into the SMSVP is received, an initial workshop will be scheduled when the SMSPO
resources, the certificate holder, and CMT are all available. After the initial
workshop has been completed, it is expected that the certificate holder will
submit and have approved within 12 consecutive calendar-months an implementation
plan that describes their activities and timeline for full SMS acceptance. SMS implementation plans are discussed in
Volume 17, Chapter 3, Section 2, paragraph
17-3-2-1. A fully implemented and validated SMS is expected within 36 months
of the initial workshop. Failure to meet these timelines could result in removal
from the SMSVP. The SMSPO maintains a database which tracks the expected progress
dates for certificate holders. The following categories denote the progress expected:
1) SMSVP Active Applicant. The certificate holder and CMT have
committed to sufficiently support the SMS implementation and validation processes.
2) SMSVP Active Participant. The SMSVP initial workshop has been
completed and the certificate holder officially begins and maintains its implementation efforts.
3) SMSVP Active Conformance. The CMT and SMSPO acknowledge full
implementation of the certificate holder’s SMS. The certificate holder is expected to use and continually improve its safety management processes.
NOTE: When a certificate holder fails to meet SMSVP standards, it may
be downgraded to an SMSVP “Non-Active Participant.”
NOTE: The SMSPO has sole authority to authorize or withdraw recognition
of a certificate holder’s SMS. The SMSPO’s primary objective is to assist CMTs
in validating SMS development and help certificate holders maintain their Active
Conformance status. The SMSPO will maintain an SMSVP Status Roster of all participants.
D. Recognition of Full Implementation. After SMS full implementation
is recognized, the certificate holder is expected to use and continually improve
its safety management processes. The CMT is expected to perform its certificate oversight duties where
SMS is one of a number of performance measures determining COS. The SMSPO periodically
verifies the certificate holder’s conformance to the SMSVP Standard by review of CMT oversight data.
E. SMSVP Withdrawal. SMSVP participants are free to withdraw
from the SMSVP at any time. If the certificate holder withdraws after SMSVP
recognition, it must notify its CMT and the SMSPO and their status will be changed
to “Voluntary Withdrawal” and the effective date recorded in the Status Roster.
17-3-1-13 SMS DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
A. Certificate Management Team (CMT). The CMT is responsible
for validating the certificate holder’s management system applications during
both the implementation process and after full implementation. Office management
is responsible for allocating the resources to accomplish this requirement.
NOTE: It is strongly recommended that a CMT committed to supporting
its certificate holder’s SMSVP participation identify a point of contact (POC)
to oversee CMT validation activities and communicate with the SMSPO.
B. Certificate Holder. The FAA authorizes a certificate holder
to provide an aviation service or product. In SMS development, a certificate
holder designates an accountable executive who has final authority over operations
authorized under its certificate and is ultimately responsible for the company’s
safety performance. He or she signs and submits the SMS implementation plan
on behalf of his or her company. The accountable executive’s signature is a
commitment to provide adequate resources for SMS development, implement SMS
in all relevant areas of the organization, and ensure ongoing conformance to the SMSVP Standard.
C. SMS Program Office (SMSPO). In addition to the duties detailed
in paragraph 17-3-1-9, the SMSPO may be contacted for guidance and policy interpretation
through the CMT. SMSPO support is readily available upon request for all preapplication, validation, and COS activities.
NOTE: To request SMSPO support services, please contact the National Coordinator by:
Phone: 703-230-7664, ext. 250
Letter: Attn: SMS Program Office
Safety Analysis and Promotion Division
13873 Park Center Road, Suite 475
Herndon, VA 20171.
D. Safety Standards POC, Office of Air Carrier Safety Assurance and
Office of General Aviation Safety Assurance, Within the Office of Foundational
Business. The Safety Standards POC within the Office of Foundational Business’s
staff, with the assistance of the SMSPO, stays abreast of the latest SMS developments and information. They are
appointed subject matter experts (SME) and resources for the CMTs.
E. Senior Technical Specialist (STS). The STS for safety management
is the FAA’s senior SMS SME and the official Aviation Safety (AVS) SMS advisor.
The STS resides in the Safety Analysis and Promotion Division. The STS consults
on all internal and external SMS development, technical issues, rulemaking,
and policy formation. In addition to the SMSPO, the STS works closely with industry,
government agencies, advocacy groups, and international organizations to advance SMS and its application within the National Airspace System (NAS).
17-3-1-15 SMS REFERENCES. This paragraph references additional resources available
to CMTs during review and validation of a certificate holder’s SMSVP submissions.
A. Related Publication. Advisory Circular (AC)
Management Systems for Aviation Service Providers.
B. Job Aids. SMS Implementation and Validation job aids are located in
Volume 17, Chapter 3, Section 3, Figures
17-3-3B–R. COS job aids are located in Figures 17-3-3S–V.
17-3-1-17 through 17-3-1-29 RESERVED.