Management System Assessment Tool

One of the core capabilities required to support the effective implementation of safety management is the ability to monitor the effectiveness of an organisation’s management systems. Competent authorities must be able to assess the effectiveness of management systems as part of their oversight. The EASA Management System Assessment Tool (MSAT) is intended to support authorities with this task. While MSAT is primarily intended to support the assessment of management systems during initial certification and continuing oversight, it may also be used by organisations to self-assess the effectiveness of their management system or of their subcontracted organisations. 

MSAT was initially developed by a group of subject-matter experts from Industry and Competent Authorities under a mandate from the EASA Regulatory Advisory Group (RAG) [now Member States Advisory Body (MAB)].

MSAT was updated in 2023, taking into consideration:

  • the feedback from users and lessons learned; 
  • the latest versions of ICAO Annex 19 and ICAO Safety Management Manual (Doc 9859);
  • the need to link up safety management activities at State level and at organisation’s level (where appropriate); 
  • the safety management requirements introduced in the European Union (EU) into Part-CAMO, Part-145 and Part 21 rules; and
  • the latest development on safety management activities and most advanced practices on safety management system (SMS) assessment.

Issue 2 also contains enhancement use instructions and further guidance to support the implementation/oversight of a management system.

One key objective is to check that all the enablers necessary for the implementation of a management system have been properly established so that this management system operates and effectively delivers as expected. In that sense, this non-legally binding document should not be used as a checklist (compliance-based approach) but much more as a flexible tool or aid-memoir to assess the capability and the level of performance of an organisation to:

  • identify hazards, manage risks, monitor the effectiveness of the mitigation actions thereof, monitor the progress towards these safety objectives, as well as timely take managerial actions in an ever-changing environment (e.g., management of changes, disruptive events, competitive environment, emerging risks); and
  • keep safety at the heart of the operations.

The assessment results should thus be used as an input into performance-based oversight activities and the adjustment of the oversight planning cycle by the competent authority, considering the maturity of that organisation to manage safety beyond mere compliance with the EU rules. “Being compliant” with the requirement does not necessarily mean “being safe”: users of that tool should be thus properly trained to understand the difference between “compliance” and “performance”; and ultimately deliver a performance based assessment report.

Finally, the EASA MSAT promotes a common approach to management system assessment and continuous improvement of SMS across the different aviation domains.

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