Modern Approaches to Safety Management-2

Modern Approaches to Safety Management-2

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Conceptual Approaches to Safety Management

Having said that, we could generate a brain storming in order to come up a bunch of scenarios how we proceed on safety management.  For sure the main parameters of any decision would be size of the organization, competency level of existing work force, oversight and enforcement ability of organization itself, local and organizational culture. Nonetheless, no matter what organization decides, any regulator should aim to take care of following five functions[1]:

  1. Regulate,
  2. Educate,
  3. Oversee,
  4. Enforce,
  5. Communicate.

What is Regulation then? It has no single definition.  However for this essay, the regulation refers to the diverse set of instruments to influence or control the way people and organizations act where there is at least a reasonable expectation of compliance. Regulation is any rule where there is an expectation of compliance. It consists of 3 broad functions: Developing it, verifying the compliance and enforcing to comply (in case of non-compliance)[2]

In civil aviation, the promotion of safety is the underlying philosophy of all aviation regulation across the world.  Main idea behind this philosophy is develop a capability which delivers a required operational outcome in a designated environment, within a specified time, and the ability to sustain that effect for a designated period. Central to this capability is the safe operation of airworthy aircraft.[3]

The Nature or structure of a regulation may differ from very progressive one, which strives to define every steps, to very vague one which defines just only outcome or expectations. Let me explain what I am trying to get through listing them: [4]

  1. Prescriptive,
  2. Management Based (system based,
  3. Performance Based,
  4. Risk Based.

Basically the fundamental input for regulator to opt in vis-a-vis type of regulation approach is its ability of oversight and safety maturity and culture of the individuals who will be regulated. On the other hand, it is worth saying that there is no harm to opt in different approach than normal its regulation preferences, when and if deemed necessary.

Aviation in retrospect, it could be easily seen that very perspective regulation was preferred at the early stage of which individuals were not enough maturity in respect of safety. To tell you the truth such approach was and has been very helpful. Because everything has to be followed is written and in no condition they were asked for commenting or figuring out how the job to be done or taking risk to do the job.  Nevertheless we should admit that it wouldn’t be possible to define all possibilities and related risk as well as future technologic developments from the day one.  Therefore it is not wrong to say that the aviation is trending to opt in risk based regulation in technologic subjects, performance based regulation in operational issues.

As you may recall, in early stage of Aviation, the industry built its safety strategy based on outcome mitigation. That is to say that It was a conventional and very reactive approach, which most of the efforts if not all was channelized find why and who. It is very blatant that this is not enough. It is because doing nothing until accident is happened is considerably expensive. Therefore, to put a continuous effort to identify latent causes which is in dormant status and directly or indirectly contributing to the accident itself would be the most rational approach. In that regard, it is wise and worth considering and taking onboard normal operational surveys, and audits[5] as well as instruments of conventional safety approach inter alia, accident reports and mandatory occurrence report. This also provides a better working environment allowing dynamic and proactive safety culture to nourish.

Reporting Culture

Another factor that feeds up the safety culture would be the volunteering reporting culture which allows us to share our experiences with other and to take lessons from others. Because, It is needless to say that the human cannot live long enough to make all mistakes in the universe. So Why wouldn’t be eager to learn lessons from others? Nevertheless, it should not overlooked that the reporting culture is part of upper dominant cultural system which the organizations and individuals are living. In other words, it is very undeniable fact that employing a volunteering reporting culture and subsequently expecting individuals to digest it very smoothly would be very challengeable due to dialectics of the upper dominant culture.  Nevertheless, If this is the case, the appropriate approach would be to handle the change in culture very delicately and consistently by knowing that it is going to be a long journey rather than giving up on it. Besides, I suggest to develop and run very effective and efficient strategic communication management to educate the personnel vis-à-vis the importance and benefit of the cultural transformation.

Predictive Safety Management Culture

I think it would be helpful to explain what operational drift is in order to understand why we attach utmost importance to Predictive Safety Management Culture. Operational drift[6]  could be defined as delta between operational performance and baseline/planned performance.  In other words it would be expressed as the difference between “work as imagined” and “work as actually done”[7] . ICAO states that the development of the practical drift is inevitable and can arise from a number of factors, including lack of enough level of safety culture, inadequate resources, unrealistic procedures and technology that does not always operate as designed. The key, however, is to catch the drift in performance before it crosses the boundary between safe and unsafe operation. In order to catch the drift you should focus on indicators rather than symptoms and have to run a quality management cycle process: Plan-do-act and check.

Against that backdrop, it is worth underlining once more that the organization should develop and run processes to monitor the health of a system in a given time, analyze the safety information to find out why the drift is happening. When the drift is encountered, appropriate counter action(s) should be utilized for keeping the system on course-on glide path. Then how can you identify that you have drift.  It is needless to say that we need some performance indicator so-called safety performance indicator (SPI), which would be used as a norm, and quality and ample amount of information to benchmark it. Safety assurance activities such as audits, observations and as well as monitoring of SPIs can help to expose activities that are “practically drifting”. Don’t overlook that the closer to the beginning of the operational drift is identified, the easier it is for the organization to intervene and much cheaper.

In a nutshell, I would like to summarize in 8 following bullets  what I’ve been striving to explain the conceptual approach to modern safety management.

  1. The Safety Management is continuing management function and it starts top level commitment of the management.
  2. The safety management focuses on process by making a clear distinction between outcome and process.
  3. Proactive Safety Management requires storing and mining. Therefore it attaches utmost importance to volunteering reporting system.
  4. Safety Management is in favor of exponential improvement rather than dramatic change, strategic planning rather than partial and reactive planning.
  5. Safety Management is looking at opportunities to continuously improving the system, therefore, it keeps system tight leash via active monitoring.
  6. Inspection of safety violations, accidents, incidents, exchanging best practices and identified lessons, an improving the system as a whole are required in safety management.
  7. There must be effective and efficient training and standard operational procedures for qualified safety personnel who is dealing with modern technology in a very dynamic environment.


SBAIR Consultancy- Safety Management System Solutions

SBAIR aims to serve as single shop for its clients, in order to meet their requirements thoroughly. Its exponentially growing regional network in Turkey and Euro-Asia, and its global long-term business relationships, have afforded SBAIR an expeditious access to all available resources to measure up clients expectations swiftly.

As natural consequences of such visionary business mindset, and taking due account that aviation industry is heavily regulated by civil aviation authorities, Apart delivering helicopters, SBAIR, also offers its customer quick and high quality wide range of aviation consultancy services, including safety management. In doing so, SBAIR is able to easily mobilize significant resources and subsequently get results in high quality and safety standards, with its profound knowledge, experienced professionals, state of art technology products and extensive aircraft/helicopter portfolio.

Who is Yusuf Bozdogan?

Yusuf Bozdogan graduated Air Force Academy in 1992 and served 26 years at tactical, operational and strategical level in Air Force with regards to  air traffic management, airport operations airspace management. He retired and transition to civil aviation in 2018. He had actively involved international organization such as NATO, ICAO, and EUROCONTROL for 16 years including 3 years assignments in Brussels and several deployment.  He has got master degree on International Affaırs, and several of certificate regarding Project Management, Strategic Planning, Quality and Safety Management. He has been working SBAIR as Business Development Manager for a while.



[1] 10 Ways to Better Aviation Regulation sayfa 11

[2] 10 Ways to Better Aviation Regulation sayfa 1

[3] 10 Ways to Better Aviation Regulation sayfa 4

[4] 10 Ways to Better Aviation Regulation sayfa 34,35

[5] Doc 9859/ 474 Safety Management Manual 2nd edition, 2014, sayfa 3-12, şekil-3-7

[6] Doc 9859/ 474 Safety Management Manual 2nd edition, 2014, page 3-9