Safety auditing is an element of safety management, which subjects the activities of aviation service providers to a systematic, critical evaluation. An audit may include one or more components of the total system, such as safety policy, change management, SMS as a whole, operating procedures, emergency procedures, etc. The aim is to disclose the strengths and weaknesses, to identify areas of non-tolerable risk, and devise rectification measures. Safety audits are used to ensure that-
- The organization's SMS has a sound structure and adequate staffing levels
- Approved procedures and instructions are complied with
- The required level of personnel competency and training to operate equipment and facilities, and to maintain their levels of performance, is achieved
- Equipment performance is adequate for the safety levels of the service provided
- Effective arrangements exist for promoting safety, monitoring safety performance, and processing safety issues
- Adequate arrangements exist to handle foreseeable emergencies (Emergency Response Plan)
In accordance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), safety audits are to be conducted on a regular and systematic basis. Safety audits are one of the principal methods for fulfilling the safety performance monitoring requirements.
The conduct of the audit is essentially a process of inspection or fact-finding. Information from almost any source may be reviewed as part of the audit. The techniques for gathering the information include-
- Review of documentation
- Interviews with staff
- Observations by the audit team
Safety auditing is a proactive safety management activity which provides the means for identifying potential problems before they have an impact on safety. Therefore, safety auditing has the characteristics attributed to both the safety assurance domain of SMS, and the hazard identification element of risk management. (above text courtesy skybrary.aero).