Saint Louis Study Finds Opinions Vary on Benefits of SMS

 - July 24, 2013, 11:40 AM

While repair station respondents to a survey by Saint Louis University’s Center for Aviation Safety Research agree that safety management systems (SMS) are a good idea, most have not begun developing their own SMS. The survey tallied responses from nearly 500 accountable executives at Part 145 repair stations. These results are preliminary, and the center, which said it is “assisting the FAA with possible SMS compliance solutions for the Part 145 repair station industry,” will report further analysis as it becomes available.

Most respondents agree that an SMS offers “greater safety benefits than financial benefits” and that an “SMS helps repair stations better identify hazards and manage risks.” Just 12.5 percent of the repair stations already have an operational SMS, although 36 percent are in the intermediate stage of developing or implementing a program. A majority, 51.5 percent, have not yet started developing an SMS.

Asked about the importance of an SMS, “23 percent of respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed that SMS actually improves safety, whereas 48 percent answered that it does,” according to the center.

Overall, repair stations that deal with large transport-category aircraft are more familiar with and more advanced in developing SMS, the survey found.