Background: Safety management systems

Over the past decade, the aircraft accident rate, expressed in losses per 100,000 departures, which had previously been improving continuously since the end of World War II, has levelled off and is now essentially stable. Therefore it is understandable that as the industry grows and departures increase, the total number of accidents will also increase. While the current rate of accidents is at an all-time low, it is assumed that any appreciable increase in the total number of accidents would be unacceptable to the general public. To avoid this situation, we will need to reduce the accident rate even still.

Considerably, the steady improvement in the accident rate was attributable to improvements to technology, such as the introduction of more reliable engines and navigation systems. However, the majority of today’s accidents can be attributed to human or organizational factors. With a few notable exceptions, there is little opportunity for technological solutions to the types of accidents. Safety management systems, on the other hand, offer the most promising means of preventing these types of accidents.