Safety Management System Implementation

Safety Management Systems (SMS) Background

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has adopted the principles of Safety Management Systems (SMS) and is in the process of requiring each Part 139 airport certificate holder to establish SMS in the airport environment to improve safety. This regulation is expected to be mandated by the FAA in April 2013. The FAA supports the SMS standards as outlined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which defines SMS as a “systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies, and procedures.” ARES offers our extensive expertise and world-class safety professionals for comprehensive SMS Gap Analysis as well as implementation guidance and support.

ARES Safety Experience

ARES Corporation has implemented the elements of a SMS through system safety analysis, policy development, and implementation support in high consequence environments for NASA, the Department of Energy (DoE), and the Department of Defense (DoD) for the past 20 years. Since our inception, ARES has conducted hundreds of risk and safety assessments in high consequence environments. Our success in meeting and exceeding client expectations, including staying on schedule and on budget, is exemplified by an outstanding 95% repeat business rate. We believe this statistic speaks volumes about why businesses hire ARES. We have offices across the country and around the world, providing state-of-the-art safety, engineering, mission assurance, project management, risk management, and software solutions. ARES consultants emphasize client communication, collaboration, and sound project management practices to assure that our deliverables meet customer expectations.


The ARES team offers years of airport, aviation, and aerospace safety experience. ARES’ personnel bring more than 150 years of combined aviation safety, SMS, project management, risk management, hazard analysis, audit, safety reporting and training, gap analysis, and quality management experience to each SMS project. Three members of our team hold advanced degrees in Aviation Safety. Members of the team also have training in Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), Lean Six Sigma, Process Management and Knowledge Management that can guide your airport to complete SMS implementation. ARES has a wealth of knowledge and experience with Safety Risk Management (SRM) and Safety Risk Assurance (SRA), in developing and implementing processes and procedures. Our team can perform organizational safety assessments and audits, as well as academic training in SRM and SMS implementation. ARES offers flexibility in our approach, to ensure the deliverables integrate seamlessly into your organization. ARES can implement Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software solutions or develop custom software to support risk management and safety efforts.

ARES is a certified training provider and has developed SMS training including eLearning and a classroom courses. We deliver training solutions accredited by the Program Management Institute (PMI) and Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering Institute (AACEI). We have successfully transformed text-based training materials into interactive, graphical, video, HTML, and Flash-based online training modules while meeting IT security constraints. The ARES training process has been applied to training courses for all levels of workforce training, from hands-on labor through senior management. ARES has experience providing corporate training programs, which were developed and implemented over a multi-year time span.

ARES Methodology

The ARES team has developed a “Four Pillars” Methodology for SMS implementation. This Methodology parallels the four pillars and 18 elements recommended by the FAA. ARES SMS solutions go beyond the minimal requirements to identify root causes of safety problems. In all our efforts, our goal is to instantiate a mature safety culture. Our methodology assesses organizational compliance along these four pillars:

  • Pillar 1, Safety Policy, the ARES team understands that this organizational structure must be multi-disciplinary and mission focused with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Training and education requirements must be defined for each of these roles.
  • Pillar 2, Safety Risk Management (SRM), the ARES team holds communication central to the on-going SRM process, reflecting this circular process with communications in the center.
  • Pillar 3, Safety Assurance, we recognize that all the elements must work together just like a gear does in order to achieve the continuous improvement needed throughout the SMS Program.
  • Pillar 4, Safety Promotion; Training & Education, Safety Communication, and Media and Branding must work in concert to achieve the final pillar of the “Four Pillars” Methodology. Once this and Pillar 4 is achieved, the airport will have realized a mature safety culture, the ultimate goal of SMS.

Why Select ARES

In close coordination with your airport’s management, ARES will apply our experience and industry best practices to implement the most effective SMS solution for your unique circumstances. We provide an initial Gap Analysis to document existing processes and procedures as well as other unique resources and constraints. Our approach then moves to making process, procedure, and documentation recommendations. Once we have agreement on a path forward, ARES will develop an SMS Implementation Plan and draft a SMS Manual for your airport. We can also provide Statements of Work (SOW) and Safety Risk Analysis (SRA) for identified airport hazards needed to apply for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding. ARES can offer additional safety capabilities to airport management to include Safety Policy & Procedures implementation, System Safety Hazard Analysis, Independent Risk Based Assessment & Audits, Safety Data Tracking & Management, Classroom & Web/Computer Based Training, and Safety Culture Change Management.

ARES goal in supporting the SMS program development at U.S. airports is to enhance the aviation safety environment experienced by the airport customers, airport employees, airlines, and the general public. Ultimately, this is evidenced by an environment where a positive safety culture is embedded in nearly every organizational action. ARES will provide the support needed to achieve a fully compliant and effective SMS program that is relevant, practical, and meets the needs of airport’s stakeholders.