Safety, in the heart of the Single Sky

The cornerstone of the Common Requirements decreed by the European Commission is air traffic safety. Eurocontrol was behind the setting up of the six ESARR (Eurocontrol Safety Regulatory Requirements); five of which have been almost fully translated into the common requirements.

What it is expected from Belgocontrol as regards air traffic safety?
Three main lines can be drawn from the safety common requirements:

  • we must have a safety management system ;
  • we must meet the requirements on risk assessment and mitigation for all changes
  • we must fulfil the safety requirements applied to the technical personnel undertaking operational safety-related tasks.

Air traffic safety management at Belgocontrol

Belgocontrol has implemented a Safety Management System (SMS) that provides a formalised, systematic and proactive approach to safety management.

Air traffic safety is the company's highest priority. This rational safety management implies among others the guarantee of an appropriate safety level and its continuation through its personnel's training and competence, through the creation of a Safety Manager function totally independent from the Directorates Operations and Equipments. The setting up of the Safety Management Unit completely meets these requirements. From now on, this unit has to systematically assess the risks related to the operational activities, engineering included, by means of safety surveys, monitoring and conclusions from the incident reports and to provide solutions so as to minimise risks.

Safety management also means promotion of safety within the company: the Safety Management Unit (SMU) has developed a range of tools destined to make every staff member conscious of the risks involving safety, to encourage them to propose solutions and to spread the lessons learned from the inquiries concerning incidents and the activities related to safety. At Belgocontrol, the promotion of safety aims at maintaining a veritable safety culture in the company.

Safety: change-related risks

The permanent systems update, the equipment renewal and the development of new applications entail risk factors as regards the safety of operations. Risks must also be assessed and if need be, corrections must be made in accordance with the Safety Assessment Methodology (SAM) designed by Eurocontrol. This requirement is part of the Common Requirements established by the European Commission, from the planning stage of a new ATM functional system component through its implementation to its withdrawal from the operations.

The Common Requirements imposed also systematic hazards identification and severity assessment according to a specific classification mechanism. As stipulated, Belgocontrol has also set itself safety targets based on risk and translated in terms of the hazard's maximum probability of occurrence.

Technical personnel and operational tasks

Belgocontrol makes sure that the technical and engineering staff has and maintains at all times sufficient knowledge and understanding of the services they support, as well as the immediate and possible effects of their interventions on the safety of these services. These prescriptions are also applicable to possible subcontractors.

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