When developing the SMS, an organisation cannot purely focus inward. External service providers that interacts with the organisation must also be considered for impact, interaction and potential input into the SMS.
Third party service providers require an understanding, and receive appropriate training, so that they become integral with the SMS, and not a potential hazard.
The level and depth of interaction with the third party service provider will obviously define the amount of training and understanding required.
Service level agreements
CASA gives guidance on the nature and content of a service level agreement (SLA) with a third party service provider. As a general guide, it should include:
- Agreement for the provision of services, supported by a written contract. This must be done prior to commencement of a service
- Agreement that all third parties hold appropriate qualifications/credentials or approvals for all work
- Agreement that all third parties understand the operator’s SMS and their own responsibilities within the SMS. The Operator will be expected to demonstrate process to ensure this
- Assurance that third parties provide trained and competent staff including where applicable, Human Factors training
- Evidence of a schedule to monitor and assess third party service provider performance on a regular basis
- Assurance that any noted safety hazards and safety deficiencies will be addressed in an agreed time frame.
- Agreement that if the service provider requires CASA certification or approvals, that they must advise the operator of any regulatory action being undertaken by CASA should it affect the third party’s ability to provide the required service.
SLAs/MoUs/etc will define many agreements. Operational and financial arrangements, security information, confidentiality agreements, personnel requirements and IT protocols are some aspects that may be covered in them.
Safety agreements and mutual expectations need to be included as well.
Review and monitor of TPC safety performance (and participation) in the SMS is a key part of elements 9, 11 and 12.