When implementing and utilizing a Safety Management System (SMS), one key element is developing and integrating the use of a pre-task risk assessment process. A key example being a Flight Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT). Every flight has some level of risk and assessing the risk before a plane is in the air can help to avoid safety incidents and ensure the success of an airline’s SMS.
What is a FRAT?
A FRAT consists of a series of questions with an associated risk level. When these questions are consolidated, a total risk assessment score for the flight is attained. Using the score, airlines may determine if that risk exceeds that airline’s specified risk threshold or not, thus providing a tool that allows pilots to make informed go/no-go decisions.
In summary, after using a FRAT to assess the risk, the data collected is:
- A comprehensive risk assessment score for the flight
- A risk profile for the different phases of the flight
- Most relevant hazard and risk concerns in need of attention
These data points come together to give a holistic understanding of what specific risks a flight has and the levels of those risks before departure — giving the pilot key information that will assist them in making important go/no-go decisions.
Integrating with SMS
Integrating an airline’s FRAT with its Safety Management System (SMS) allows for enhanced data-sharing which enables airlines to cross-reference FRAT and SMS data in a central repository quickly. This integration can also provide additional insights into an airline’s organization since the airline’s SMS could provide richer analytics and reports with the incorporation of this data.
Integrating the data with various parts of an airlines SMS also allows other parties in the organization to utilize the data collected. For example, Safety Analysts will have access to this additional information which can help them to look for specific trends in various pilot’s FRAT scores while being able to correlate that information with safety reports. Thus, allowing for a more comprehensive overview of safety events which could lead to enhanced risk mitigation strategies.
Additional Use for FRATs
More and more airlines are seeing the benefits that pre-task risk assessments, such as FRATs, are providing and are expanding these assessments beyond preflight operations. As part of their SMS platforms, some airlines are now ensuring that their SMS providers include an Operational Risk Management Tool (ORM) in their systems. These ORMs are structured and work very similar to that of traditional FRATs, but expand the pre-task assessments to above wing, below wing, and various other operations. These integrated ORM tools allow airlines to take charge and mitigate risk in a wide variety of scenarios, ensuring that tasks are carried out in the safest way possible while avoiding costly safety incidents and accidents.
Utilizing pre-task assessment tools within airline SMS improves airline operations. Not only are they useful for data-driven insight to assist with pre-flight decision making, but they provide cross-referenceable data that can be utilized to enhance airline operations. Integrating an airline’s FRAT and ORMs with its SMS is key to maximizing the utilization of these platform’s safety data.