To gain an approval from ASSI that requires a Safety Management System (SMS) the applicant must first describe the system as part of their Manual set. The required contents of such a system to be described can be found in the OTAC on Safety Management Systems.

The Safety Management System checklist (also available in MS Word format) is also a good guide of the expected content of the system. The checklist questions are either green or white. The green questions are those that need to be completed before an approval can be granted, basically set up items. The white questions are reviewed after an appropriate period to allow the system to operate and provide evidence of SMS outputs.

Before submitting the description of the SMS, the organisation should conduct a review of the SMS checklist to ensure the green questions are completed, and this checklist should be submitted.

ASSI will review the SMS using the checklist and provide feedback to the applicant, which may require a re-submission. When ASSI is satisfied that the green checklist items are completed, the associated approval may be granted.

ASSI considers an SMS is bespoke to every organisation depending on its size and complexity. This will also impact on the speed that it evolves.

Dependent on this, the ASSI Regulatory Team will set the timescale for an SMS review to allow the completion of the checklist white questions. This follow-up review will look at SMS outputs such as:

  • Risk registers/mitigation actions
  • Safety meeting minutes
  • Occurrence reports and investigations
  • SMS training records
  • Safety audits
  • Change management
  • Safety communications/promotion

Following this, the ASSI Regulatory Team will review the results. If these indicate that the SMS is starting to operate and is evolving with outputs, then it will be deemed as acceptable. It will then be expected to continuously improve and will be monitored through the usual regulatory oversight processes. Cases that fail to meet an acceptable standard will then be managed through the initial stages of the enforcement process using observations and findings to meet the acceptable standard.

As part of an organisation's internal audit processes other checklists can be used and are available, the UK CAA SMS evaluation tool can be downloaded from this page on their website.

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