ALPA Canada Board: SMS Essential to Aviation Safety

The ALPA Canada Board issued the following response to CBC-TV’s program, “Power & Politics with Evan Solomon,” which aired on January 22.

“Safety management systems (SMS) are a valuable tool to enhance safety in aviation and other transportation industries in Canada. SMS aid airlines by helping to identify and mitigate safety risks that have not been anticipated by regulators. As a result, SMS programs are critical to ensuring the highest safety standards are maintained and providing a continuous means of identifying hazards before they become serious.

“Equally important is the concept that nonpunitive and confidential safety programs remain a foundation for heading off safety risks before incidents or accidents occur.

“ALPA maintains unequivocally that a nonpunitive, confidential safety reporting program is essential, especially when it comes to identifying and responding to human factors issues.

“Canada is a world leader in adopting SMS programs in its marine, rail, and aviation industries. SMS programs ensure continuing safety by combining the appropriate levels of incentive for frontline employee reporting, internal auditing, and regulatory oversight.

“When Transport Canada or the airlines consider releasing any transport audit to the public, they must ensure that any confidential reporting referenced or used as the basis of that audit remains strictly confidential. This is absolutely essential as the confidentiality of information given in a SMS is the very backbone that ensures its authenticity and timeliness.”