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Defence Aviation Safety Authority

DASR - Safety Management System

The DASR Safety Management System (SMS) Implementing Regulation (IR) establishes the criteria for the aviation domain to systematically manage risks to aviation safety and, in part, discharge obligations under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011. It details a systematic, staged and comprehensive approach to managing risks to aviation safety, including the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures. An effective Safety Management System improves the likelihood of predicting, preventing and treating aviation hazards and risks, as well as human errors and violations.

The following sections detail the DASR SMS background, oversight methodology employed and the transition requirements for organisations.

DASR SMS Implementing Regulation: Background

Rather than have duplicated SMS requirements throughout the DASR, it has been decided to implement a standalone DASR SMS part, to be referred to by other IR.

The DASR SMS will not require a separate exposition or approval. DASR SMS requirements will instead be invoked from the DASR IR under which an organisation is seeking approval.

The architecture for the SMS regulation has been, where possible, aligned with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Chicago Convention Annex 19 framework and includes consideration of the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The ICAO framework is considered by most National Aviation Authorities (NAA) as best practice and has extensive supporting guidance material available for regulated entities. DASR SMS generic Guidance Material (GM) is provided for each of the required SMS elements. It is acknowledged that in some cases there will be a need for specific GM for certain organisation types and this will be added as understanding of SMS continues to mature. That being said, suggestions for improvement from the regulated community are always welcome.

DASR SMS Oversight methodology

The performance based nature of the DASR SMS introduces new considerations for how oversight is to be conducted, these considerations include:

  • Phased Implementation. Implementation of the SMS is not expected to be instantaneous. It is instead a process that could take several years. Actual implementation duration will depend upon:

    • the size of the organisation,
    • the nature of the organisation’s operations,
    • the complexity of the organisation’s aviation products and/or services, and
    • the existing maturity of SMS components.

  • Subjective Nature. Assessing the effectiveness and performance of an SMS requires a judgement decision. Each maturity indicator will be scored according to the Present, Suitable, Operating and Effective (PSOE) methodology. Subjective assessments will be required to determine ‘suitability’ and ‘effectiveness’ and may or may not be simple depending on the quantity and quality of evidence that is available.

  • Maturity v Compliance. DASA will conduct "assessments of organisations' safety management systems. This process is to include agreement and discussion with the assessed organisation and a joint decision establishing the current maturity of the SMS. Instead of compliance, DASA will expect a minimum level of improvement in SMS maturity over an agreed period of time. This improvement will be evident through the organisation's maturity assessment tool results.

  • Size, Nature & Complexity. The SMS and its associated policies, procedures and documentation are expected to correspond to the size, nature and complexity of the organisation and its inherent risks to aviation safety.
Maturity Indicators

The SMS assessment relies on the performance of a set number of maturity indicators.. The maturity indicators are contained within an assessment tool with associated PSOE scores for each. This assessment methodology represents current best practice for assisting Authorities and organisations with assessing SMS effectiveness. In most cases each maturity indicator has been presented in a way that reflects two aspects;

  • Planning. A system, process, or procedure has been established and documented. This is a compliance measure.
  • Execution. There is evidence of execution of what was planned. This is a performance measure.

Each maturity indicator is reviewed to determine whether the indicator is PSOE, using the definitions provided below, so that the overall effectiveness of the element can be justified and supported.

  • Present - There is evidence that the indicator is clearly visible and is documented within the organisation's SMS Documentation.
  • Suitable - There is evidence that the indicator forms part of an implemented and maintained process within the business undertaken and is appropriate based on the size, nature, complexity of the organisation.
  • Operating - There is evidence that the indicator is in use and an output is being produced.
  • Effective - There is evidence that the indicator is effective and achieving the desired outcome.
Gap Analysis Process

New organisations. New Organisations should seek to communicate with DASA as soon as possible regarding their requirements under the DASR SMS. Typically a DASA officer will encourage and assist the organisation in creating an SMS implementation plan that is relevant for the organisation’s circumstances.

Existing Organisations
. Existing organisations should have now completed and submitted their gap analysis assessment tool. Where this has not been done, the organisation should contact a DASA representative for further instruction.

SMS Gap Analysis Assessment Tool. To assist organisations in conducting the first self-assessment, the SMS Gap Analysis Tool provides a construct against which their SMS will be assessed. There is also additional guidance material for each element available that may assist the organisation in developing appropriate documentation and processes applicable to the size, nature and complexity of the organisation. Upon completion of the gap analysis assessment tool, the assessment is then to be forwarded to the applicable DASA desk officer for review. The submission of the organisation’s SMS should be accompanied with all relevant SMS documentation that may be required to validate the self-assessment.

SMS Gap Analysis Assessment Tool XLS-1595KB

Ongoing Assessment Process

Establish Baseline Maturity. When DASA SMS oversight commences, a DASA representative will organise a site visit (likely to be coupled with other oversight activities) to assess the execution of the organisation’s existing SMS. Similar to the gap analysis, the full maturity assessment of an organisation will involve a discussion and joint agreement between both parties for each maturity indicator. Results of the assessment will be recorded on the “SMS Maturity Assessment Tool” (link provided below), the output of the tool will be the assessed organisation’s SMS maturity level. Upon conclusion of the baseline assessment, the SMS maturity expectations will also agreed upon by DASA and the assessed organisation.

Ongoing Assessments. Moving forward from the baseline assessment, the maturity assessment tool will also be utilised for future DASA SMS oversight organisations.

SMS Maturity Assessment Tool XLS-1826KB