Flight Safety Foundation has completed seven workshops scheduled for 2016 as part of its Global Safety Information Project (GSIP) with several more to follow.  Workshops have been held in Singapore, Sydney, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo.  The Foundation is formulating strategies and approaches to better collect, analyze and share safety data in order to reduce risk in the world of aviation.  Safety management systems (SMS) are making some of this possible, as we see more and more countries setting expectations through rulemaking and aviation organizations practicing more detailed methods of risk management.

The workshops focus on the types of data most organizations might use to detect hazards and on how best to assess risks.  The standards for SMS are contained in ICAO Annex 19 and one element requires organizations to gather data to provide indications on safety performance through related metrics.  These are referred to as safety performance indicators (SPIs).  These indicators might be thought of as similar to key performance indicators (KPIs) in the business world.

Many organizations establish their SPIs as part of the construction of their own SMS.  The metrics provide focus for an organization to monitor and improve its safety performance.  As such, these metrics were never designed to be standard across the industry, and there are good reasons they are different because varying operational environments may dictate what metrics are important.  As we go through these workshops we are finding out more about the industry’s approach to SPIs and other key data collection, analysis and information exchange.  Some organizations may share safety data in ways that help to improve the overall industry’s understanding of risk.

Not every organization has a fully functioning SMS, and not every regulator has a fully functioning state safety program.  We see this as a prime opportunity to discuss the strategies and methods for collecting, processing and sharing data.  There are many countries and many organizations around the world trying to put together their best ideas and working models of their processes.   Our workshops provide an opportunity for airlines, air navigation service providers, airports, manufacturers and regulators to take time to consider methods that could shape the future of our industry. SPIs are one of the key topics in our workshops, but they represent just one aspect of the overall risk management process.