Nick McCoy, Regional Director of Regulatory Affairs, FlightSafety International
Nick has been in the field of aircraft maintenance since 2003. He started as an A&P mechanic, taught aircraft maintenance basic training in China for 4.5 years, taught type training at FlightSafety International for 3 years, lead courseware development at FlightSafety’s Honeywell program for 1.5 years and now supports the entire enterprise’s maintenance training regulatory affairs as regional director of regulatory affairs responsible for the Asian Region. He has an FAA A&P License, B.S. in Communication, and an MBA.
A Complete Organizational Approach to SMS Through QMS
Arguments exist that quality management systems (QMS) and safety management systems (SMS) are separate functions. QMS focuses on customer satisfaction and SMS focuses on accident/incident prevention. This paper argues that because aviation maintenance training providers should ensure QMS and SMS are fully integrated so that all processes, from identifying training requirements to training delivery are safety focused.
Processes that support hanger safety are obvious. Perhaps less apparent are processes that prevent ineffective or negative training which could result in safety risks in the field and after an aircraft is released from maintenance.
To prevent negative or ineffective training, training providers need to ensure training structure is designed to provide an efficient flow of information to the trainee that ensures they gain the most up-to-date and accurate information and skills that can be implemented in the field. Therefore, safety focus and risk management should be woven through all aspects of training delivery such as using standardized training equipment, courseware control measures, instructor qualification and quality oversight.
When QMS and SMS are separate functions, personnel tend to be less involved in supporting safety initiatives. They may look to the safety officer to identify and manage risk while they carry out their daily roles. This silo approach can be difficult to maintain as it becomes a one or two person safety department.
When QMS and SMS are integrated, personnel actively participate in accident/incident prevention and risk management because it is built into their daily work. Another benefit is giving personnel a voice to report hazards and participate in risk mitigation and process improvement.
Aviation maintenance training QMS policies must translate directly to a strategy of providing the best training suited to negative or ineffective training the could lead to accident. If your maintenance training organization does not have a QMS where all policies directly support SMS initiatives, then maybe a fresh analysis is needed.