Measuring safety in aviation: empirical results about the relation between safety outcomes and safety management system processes, operational activities and demographic data

Steffen Kaspers, Nektarios Karanikas, Selma Piric, Robbert van Aalst, Robert Jan de Boer, Alfred Roelen

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Abstract

A literature review conducted as part of a research project named “Measuring Safety in Aviation – Developing Metrics for Safety Management Systems” revealed several challenges regarding the safety metrics used in aviation. One of the conclusions was that there is limited empirical evidence about the relationship between Safety Management System (SMS) processes and safety outcomes. In order to explore such a relationship, respective data from 7 European airlines was analyzed to explore whether there is a monotonic relation between safety outcome metrics and SMS processes, operational activity and demographic data widely used by the industry. Few, diverse, and occasionally contradictory associations were found, indicating that (1) there is a limited value of linear thinking followed by the industry, i.e., “the more you do with an SMS the higher the safety performance”, (2) the diversity in SMS implementation across companies renders the sole use of output metrics not sufficient for assessing the impact of SMS processes on safety levels, and (3) only flight hours seem as a valid denominator in safety performance indicators. At the next phase of the research project, we are going to explore what alternative metrics can reflect SMS/safety processes and safety performance in a more valid manner
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPESARO 2017
Subtitle of host publicationThe seventh International Conference on Performance, Safety and Robustness in Complex Systems and Applications
PublisherIARIA
Pages9-16
ISBN (Electronic)9781612085494
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe Seventh International Conference on Performance, Safety and Robustness in Complex Systems and Applications - Venice, Italy
Duration: 23 Apr 201727 Apr 2017

Conference

ConferenceThe Seventh International Conference on Performance, Safety and Robustness in Complex Systems and Applications
Abbreviated titlePESARO 2017
CountryItaly
CityVenice
Period23/04/1727/04/17

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