Some people scratched their heads when Gulfstream announced last month the inclusion of sales and marketing people into the company’s safety management system (SMS). Gulfstream, however, saw the move as closing the final loop in the SMS chain to link together all 14,000 people in 42 countries.
“The [Gulfstream] leadership team made a decision that with all the good things we were identifying, the SMS would be the right thing to do across the entire organization,” said Paul Dellinger, the company’s director for environmental health and safety. Fred Etheridge, Gulfstream’s senior manager for corporate SMS, acknowledged that initially, “We never thought about bringing sales and marketing in. But when we started implementing SMS into our flight operations we realized the direct link between our sales force and the pilots.”
One day a member of the marketing team noticed a hazardous piece of rebar sticking up from the ground outside the human resources building and filed one of the early SMS reports from that department. Gulfstream’s Q-Pulse SMS database accepted her hazard report and within moments of the filing, a defined list of e-mail recipients also viewed it and decided it needed further investigation.
Generally, if the person reporting a safety incident provides her name, she receives immediate feedback. “Gulfstream employees have created 2,200 hazard reports so far this year and only a small number, maybe 50, ask to remain anonymous,” said Etheridge.
When asked about some of the more unusual SMS reports, Etheridge quickly named the fellow who turned in a report on himself: “He realized he’d skipped a step in a high-power engine run, a high-risk activity. While his outcome was good [this time], he realized the potential hazard if other qualified technicians also missed that same step.”