FRMS IN AVIATION
The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) has introduced guidelines on how airlines may adopt a Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) approach to managing their employee alertness. The new guidelines were introduced in late August 2011 and presented at a joint meeting with the FRMS Forum between 30th August and 2nd September 2011.
Since then regulators around the world, have adopted these to a lesser or greater extent for enactment within their own state to their own timetable. In Europe, the EASA recommendations were accepted by the European Parliament on 9th October 2013.
The benefit to airlines for adopting FRMS will be to increase flexibility in their operations. Airlines that implement a full FRMS may be permitted to fly outside their country’s Flight Times regulations if they can prove to their National Aviation Authority that what they propose is safe. An FRMS will oblige the airline to collect data and approach the construction of the revised flight schedule from a scientific base to prove or disprove the relative safety of that schedule.
An FRMS aims to ensure that flight and cabin crew-members are sufficiently alert so they can operate to a satisfactory level of performance and safety. Accordingly, an FRMS assures that crew members are able to deal with extra demands that may be placed on them not only throughout normal operations but in extended, abnormal situations too.
It applies principles and processes from a mature Safety Management System (SMS) that is already in place in all airlines, to manage the risks associated with crew-member fatigue. Like SMS, FRMS seeks to achieve a realistic balance between safety, productivity, and costs. It seeks to identify proactively, opportunities to improve operational processes and reduce risk, as well as identifying deficiencies after adverse events. The core activities are safety risk management and safety assurance. These core activities are governed by an FRMS policy which is supported by an FRMS promotion and training activity. The system and its component processes must be documented, as in any quality assurance process.
Benefits of implementing FRMS
There are significant benefits to airline operators particularly for those holding CEO, Safety Manager, Chief Pilot and aircrew roles. When properly implemented, the organisation should expect to see clear safety, employee well-being and overall business benefits to make it all worthwhile. For information on how FRMSc can help your organisation help write your investment plan to realise these, please contact us.