Establishing an FBO Safety Committee is a Savvy Cultural Shift
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 12:45PM
AC-U-KWIK in FBO Operation Tip of the Week, FBO safety committee, FBO tips, Safety Committee, Safety Management System

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals, Aviation Business Strategies Group (ABSG)

FBO owners, operators and managers who invest in establishing a strong internal safety culture can realize many associated benefits that range from reducing hazards to building long-term profitable customer relationships.

Surprisingly, the investment is usually not more money but, rather, a commitment to invest hands-on time and a willingness to treat employees as true stakeholders throughout the enterprise. This can involve a change in mindset, moving from an old-school autocratic management style to a new-school collective leadership approach.

For instance, the old-school approach would involve creating rules and regulations and then punishing employees for violations and infractions. 

The new-school collective leadership approach involves creating a non-punitive environment where employees are encouraged to report accidents, incidents and potential hazards anonymously without the threat of retribution. To be clear, this approach does not mean that employees are not held accountable for their actions that are determined to be an outright disregard for best safety practices.

At the heart of a strong safety culture is the FBO safety committee. FBOs and flight departments that have instituted a safety management system (SMS) know the value of the safety committee. For FBOs that don’t have an SMS in place, creating a safety committee is the first step in changing and fortifying the internal safety culture.

The safety committee is made up of representative employees who have a vested interest in creating and maintaining a safe operating environment. Usually, these are line service employees who are responsible for the safe fueling, service and movement of customer aircraft.

In addition, FBOs often add customer service and ground service equipment employees to the committee, which can bring greater value and a different perspective to the mix. Ideally, the size of the committee should be big enough to be representative of the various departments but small enough to be effective in the administrative and decision-making process.

In addition, FBO owners/operators and managers need to recognize that all employees should be considered stakeholders in the enterprise and, therefore, have a vested interest in making sure the operating environment is safe for all who enter. They make important contributions to the safety process by also having the ability to make anonymous reports on any accident, incident or potential hazard.

In the collective leadership approach, the head of the safety committee reports directly to the accountable executive such as the FBO owner/operator or the designated representative — for example, the general manager. In larger FBO organizations, the head of the safety committee is often the safety officer or safety manager.

An important characteristic of the safety committee is that it operates as an autonomous and unfettered entity that is charged by ownership/management with the responsibility to:        



Ultimately, the purpose of the safety committee is to identify and manage workplace hazards.

If you’d like more information on forming a safety committee and the various tools that are available to ensure a successful safety transformation of your organization, please let us know through the contact information listed below.

For FBOs who seek to formalize their safety initiatives, we recommend considering an IS-BAH registration designation. Click here for more information.

Please leave a comment on this subject below. If you have any questions, please give us a call or send us an email:, 404-867-5518;, 972-979-6566.


John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and is an IS-BAH accredited auditor. Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. Visit the biography page or for more background.


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© 2017 ABSG

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