At the VIH Aviation Group, we take pride in making safety our number one priority from the boardroom to the hangar floor. By striving for a goal of continuous improvement, we have maintained one of the best safety records in the industry for more than five decades.

Integrated safety management systems in our individual operating systems are used to mitigate the many risks associated with aviation. The respective systems are co-developed and coordinated between companies to ensure a lesson learned by one is shared by all. This risk management based approach sets out responsibilities and accountability at all levels, encouraging proactive reporting of potential safety issues which allows us to identify and implement corrective changes before accidents occur. We regularly measure our safety culture and look for innovative ways to improve our safety perspective and performance.

We believe that our culture of safety will continue to mature because of our use of best industry practices through all the facets of our business. Comprehensive internal and external 3rd party audits are regularly conducted to ensure we practice our standards equally from operations in remote areas of the world to our head offices.

Safety Management System (SMS)

Definition of SMS:

A documented process for managing risks that integrates operations and technical systems with the management of financial and human resources to ensure aviation safety or the safety of the public.

A key goal of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) is to reduce helicopter accidents by 80% mainly through the development and implementation of an SMS for all rotor wing operators. Cougar is leading the way – having already created and implemented their own SMS system long before the international need was determined.

Why SMS?

In order to provide absolute safety to our employees, customers and contractors, an effective system was required to mitigate inherent risks in all phases of our operations. Our SMS system ensures that the aircraft are airworthy and operated safely. Also, all employees are provided a safe working environment where they can complete their tasks in a responsible, competent and professional manner.

Key Components of SMS

  • Responsibility and Accountability
  • Hazard and Risk Management
  • Communication and Training
  • Document Control
  • Emergency Response
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Sharing of Industry Best Practices
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • Management of Change
  • Audits/Assessments/Inspections
  • Effective Event Reporting
  • Investigation and Prevention
  • Proactive Improvement

Aviation Safety

The Air Navigation Commission of the International Civil Aviation Organization defines aviation safety as the state of freedom from unacceptable risk of injury to persons or damage to aircraft and property.

Key to aviation safety is proper equipment. VIH Aviation Group strives to provide its staff with the very best in personal protective equipment (PPE) by:

  • exceeding industry standards (Transport Canada/FAA)
  • exceeding industry standards (OHSA /Canada Labour Code)
  • communicating and sharing helicopter industry best practices
  • researching new and innovative safety equipment
  • assisting manufacturers with trials and competency standards, such as the fall restraint/protection initiative with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
  • attending safety workshops, seminars and conventions

VIH Aviation Group maintains a strict auditing, monitoring and management review system to proactively manage safety on a daily basis. We also have an online reporting system that enables us to track trends in order to mitigate any potentially harmful actions or behaviours that may normally go undetected.

As a good corporate citizen, we deem it important to work with others in the industry promoting aviation safety worldwide. As a result, we are involved with various safety committees: the Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC), the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) and the Helicopter Association International (HAI) Offshore Committee to name a few.

VIH Aviation Group also has a formal aviation safety management program, an aviation safety committee and each base has a base aviation safety officer; all overseen by the director of safety and quality.