Tools Used in Confidential Safety Reporting System
In traditional safety programs, the most common means of reporting safety concerns to management is by using paper-based reporting forms. The first step is for the employee or customer to acquire the paper-form. In aviation operations that span multiple regions and/or countries, managing paper-based safety reporting forms is both inefficient and fraught with risk.
The problem with paper-based reporting forms is that once a user submits the safety report, management has no assurance it will be processed in a timely manner. Furthermore, how can the reporter be assured that the report will reach the proper management team? The feedback loop in most paper-based systems is either:
- non-existent; or
- inefficient and inconsistently applied.
With modern technology, most operators today have a Web-based safety reporting system that
- collects information about the reporter's safety concern;
- enters the safety report into the risk management database for further processing;
- notifies safety team that a new report has entered the SMS' safety reporting system; and
- sends confirmation "Thank you" email to the original reporter.
An automated safety reporting system collects the safety report and automatically enters the report into the SMS database. The reporting system manages the notifications to alert management and to send a confirmation email to the reporter, whenever this is possible. There are some use cases where it will become impossible to communicate to the original reporter. These use cases include:
- Reporter wishes to remain anonymous; or
- Reporter neglects to provide accurate contact information when reporting the safety concern.
Most modern aviation safety reporting systems have an anonymous reporting feature that protects the reporter. Alternatively, some safety reporting systems have a "confidential" setting that reporters can select to indicate to management that "this is a sensitive safety issue." In this case, the aviation service provider will treat this issue according to their documented risk management processes.