Safety Risk Profiles: Required Equipment for Your Organization

A Safety Risk Profile (SRP) should be the focal point of an aviation organization or operator’s safety management efforts. An organization that employs a risk profile should easily be able to pinpoint the greatest risks to its operations while also resultant mitigations. Unfortunately, SRPs are often outdated and don’t adequately address contemporary risks to safety or the best practices for mitigating safety risks. To learn more about the importance of leading-edge SRPs, view the video below.

What is a Safety Risk Profile and Why is it Critical?

Safety Risk Profiles are a critical foundation for an organization’s safety management efforts. An effective SRP can clearly and concisely identify both the entity’s top hazards and resultant mitigations to address these risks.

A successful SRP delineates hazards in an objective manner and defines them in terms of “severity” versus “probability” – enabling an organization to appropriately allocate and deploy safety resources to mitigate risks. A SRP is a critical component for addressing threats to an organization.

The Industry Problem with Safety Risk Profile

Within the field of business aviation, Safety Risk Profiles have not adapted to changing times. For example, traditional SRPs – which were derived from state safety programs or the airline industry – are general in nature and highlight the relative risk posed by each phase of operations. Among the focus areas found in traditional SRP are:

  • Airport facilities
  • Air traffic services
  • Crew performance
  • Crew qualifications and training
  • Dispatch personnel experience and qualifications
  • Maintenance tracking
  • Weather

These risks to these areas are assessed as “low,” “medium” or “high” (generally correlating to “tolerable,” “tolerable with mitigation” and “intolerable”).

While these traditional SRPs assist in analyzing perceived risk, they don’t underscore the organization’s greatest threats or suggest ways to combat resultant risks. Thus, they can be viewed as merely “checking the box” rather than valuable efforts to manage safety.

Rethinking Safety Risk Profiles

To better serve the safety goals and objectives of an organization, an optimal SRP should clearly define the greatest hazards faced within its operations. While most business aviation entities are considered “small” when compared to a state safety program or an airline, it is crucial to be granular within one’s SRP. In addition to the areas noted above regarding traditional areas of safety, it is imperative to also identify some less common – but critically important – threats to the organization, including:

  • Challenging airports (mountainous, over water, etc.)
  • Cultural engagement
  • High turnover (new employees)
  • New aircraft to the fleet
  • Regular duty day exceedances/extensions
  • Substandard FBO vendors

Clearly, there is value in listing an organization’s greatest threats – but once identified, they should be assessed in terms of probability and severity (using whatever risk matrix an organization has adopted). The next step is to note the mitigations applied to each hazard.

A more detailed explanation about creating a leading-edge SRP can be viewed in the video referenced above.

How Risk Profiles Connect to Performance Indicators

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

The ability to measure the success of an organization’s mitigations is core to managing the issues highlighted in the SRP. To that end, it is important to deploy safety performance indicators (SPIs) specifically tied to each SRP item. Implementing SPIs allows an organization to survey the effectiveness of its mitigations, as SPIs clearly identify which controls are effective and which are not. Additionally, SPIs enable an organization to easily monitor its greatest threats, how they are being addressed and if mitigation measures are effective.

For additional ideas on the invaluable benefits of SRPs and SPIs, view the following video, courtesy of Bombardier Safety Standdown.

Questions or Comments?

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