ICAO safety cornerstone is SMS
Each Country is to implement its own State Safety Program
ICAO audits SSPs but does not appear to be sharing BEST PRACTICES
Transport Canada recently (see below) issued its State Safety Program (SSP). This is the cornerstone document in ICAO’s global preeminent safety regime; an SSP sets the goals, structure and processes for each Member State’s implementation of THE state-of-the-art safety discipline—Safety Management Systems (SMS).
If ICAO sets up a standard to which its Members must adhere, its Monitoring and Observation organization will audit or assess the countries which determine their salaries. Here is its statement of their reviews’ purpose:
The State Safety Programme Implementation Assessment (SSPIA) is a performance-based activity that falls under the framework of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA). Through the programme, ICAO assesses the level of maturity of a State Safety Programme (SSP) by conducting a systematic and objective review of the State’s implementation and maintenance of its SSP.
That lengthy description (6 separate steps) defines how the SSPs of each Member assessed will be categorized:
- 0: Not present and not planned;
- 1: Not present but being worked on;
- 2: Present;
- 3: Present and effective; and
- 4: Present and effective for years and in continuous improvement.
Then the ICAO paper explains what it will do after it has completed a number of these SSPIAs:
What does MO do to support States’ preparation and readiness to undergo an SSPIA?
In support of States’ preparation for an SSPIA, MO has initiated two main measures:
- SSPIA Workshop – Similar to the USOAP CMA workshops, the SSPIA workshop aims to provide valuable information to States on how the SSPIA is conducted, including its methodologies, processes and tools.
- SSPIA Q&A Sheet – The Q&A sheet aims to provide brief answers to the most common queries that MO receives from States, and this will be posted on the OLF shortly.
One of the core principles of SMS is sharing data and lessons among peers—air carriers, OEMs, repair stations and GOVERNMENTs. The ICAO explanation of SSPIAs’ outcomes does not mention any feedback about the lessons learned and/or best practices of the SSPs which have been subject to their scrutiny. The UN body intends to use its assessments to educate unaudited Members about how best to pass the test, but that single outcome (there may be others) does not maximize these points of improvement—not very SMS.
– September 21, 2021, 11:42 AM
In accordance with the recommendations in Annex 19 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Transport Canada(TC) has published a state safety program (SSP). Annex 19, Safety Management, was originally released in 2013 and contains the basis for an SSP intended for adoption by the organization’s member countries.
Canada’s SSP follows ICAO guidance very closely, grouping its components into four categories: safety policy; safety risk management; safety quality assurance; and safety promotion. The plan is designed to apply to all private and commercial operators, maintenance personal and facilities, flight and ground training companies, airframe and component manufacturers, and airport operations.
One of the most important elements of the SSP is its emphasis on operators having a safety management system (SMS). Over the last decade, Transport Canada has been applying SMS requirements to segments of its regulated companies in the aviation, marine, and rail sectors.
While Canada strives to be compliant with Annex 19 requirements, the SSP concedes that “more work is needed to support SMS adoption by other [than commercial] operators” even though many have voluntarily adopted SMS programs. Currently, SMSs are required for airline, commuter, and most air taxi operators, but are only recommended for private aircraft operators.
 The TC website did not make it clear whether this was its first publication of its SSP.
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