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What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?

Don't let the thought of a Safety Management System (SMS) get you all flustered. It is easier than you think. 

SMS Explained

Safety Management System (SMS) is becoming a standard throughout the aviation industry worldwide. It is recognized by the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and civil aviation authorities (CAA) and product/service providers as the next step in the evolution of safety in aviation.


SMS is also becoming a standard for the management of safety beyond aviation. Similar management systems are used in the management of other critical areas such as quality, occupational safety and health, security, environment, etc.

Safety Management Systems (SMSs) for product/service providers (certificate holders) and regulators will integrate modern safety risk management and safety assurance concepts into repeatable, proactive systems.


SMSs emphasize safety management as a fundamental business process to be considered in the same manner as other aspects of business management.

By recognizing the organization's role in accident prevention, SMSs provide to both certificate holders and FAA:

  • A structured means of safety risk management decision making

  • A means of demonstrating safety management capability before system failures occur

  • Increased confidence in risk controls though structured safety assurance processes

  • An effective interface for knowledge sharing between regulator and certificate holder

  • A safety promotion framework to support a sound safety culture

SMS Explained -Term Explanation


Learn about the evolution of safety management and how SMS addresses the organization's role in safety.


What are the four SMS components? Learn about each major component and how they work together as a system.

Quality and Safety Management


What are the similarities and differences between QMS and SMS? How do they complement each other?



There are a lot of rumors out there! This section tackles the most common misconceptions about SMS.

All this information was taken off the FAA website. You can go here for the original post. Safety Management System (SMS) | Federal Aviation Administration (

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