Tag Archives: ICAO

Safety versus Everything Else not SMS

Safety Managers can sort through legalities by remembering what safety is and what safety is not. Safety is about prevention, human factors, reporting and investigating, fixing the problem, communicating and looking forward.

Safety is not about criminal law, civil law, administrative law or regulatory law; it is not about public administration or zoning around airports. It is not about public relations, disaster preparedness and actually, much to the surprise of many, it is not about accident investigation.

All of these subject areas may involve commercial aviation and we have to be about the business of managing all of these areas, but they are not safety management.

Safety management is now going through the SMS phase and that is mostly good. But there is a mystic which may confuse some, turn off others or gray the black and white lines of aviation safety.

Safety must foremost be prevention, prevention of hazards from becoming mishaps. Strong leadership in safety is needed to make prevention happen; it does not come naturally to us humans to prevent mishaps, we tend to trip and skin our knees, we do not always seem ready to prevent the trip and fall. But prevention is cheaper. Straightening a rug by a door is cheaper that sending a guest to the hospital with a trip caused broken bone.

Safety is really all about human factors or what we really know as human error. There is no mishap on record that did not hold human error to account. So prevention really does seem to be a human error issue, what can we do as flight crew to improve our human performance. Training comes to mind, procedures and checklists as part of that.

Safety is all about the reporter finding a hazard and yelling out loud, “Hey, here is a problem everyone!” Those of us gifted to see thing may see more, but everyone sees something. Encourage reporting.

Fixing the problem is critical, don’t just report the hazard. There is no one other than the safety manager who is more in charge at this point; this is your time to shine. Do the work corporately or by your own imagination- but get the work done to find the solution and pronto. Remember that the flight on which the hazard was found will be repeated in an hour, a day or a week. No time for waiting for “the system to work.” The system didn’t work and now is the time to step in and take action, work with others to take action, manage others who are taking action or foster the action takers to hurry up.

Communicating is how safety works. Remember that you both speak for the pilots and to the pilots. They speak to you. Keep those channels open and flowing. Do whatever is needed in your organizations culture to encourage communications. Remember also that Tweets, emails, Facebook, IM’s and every new electronic media is whats happening now.

Lastly, safety is all about looking forward to mishap free operations.  Consider everything you do as influencing a safer tomorrow. You will be one of the few who do.

Remember, do not get involved, sidetracked or distracted by what safety is not. As the safety manager, you are the only one doing those six safety goals leading you to the now SMS.

Alone in the sky with the sunrise.

Alone in the sky with the sunrise.

Bad Math from ICAO?

ICAO may be fostering bad mishap math. ICAO is stating that an increase in mishaps is attributable to an increase in flight operations. If that were so mathematically, than as any airline operated more flights and or flew more hours, their mishap rate would directly increase. But that is not the case anecdotaly, statistically, case historically or in the experience of this pilot. The author of the ICAO report is looking for the reasons for more mishaps in the wrong place. This is critically important especially if everyone is trying to achieve the goal of reducing aviation mishaps. To do so, you have to know what are the causes of mishaps in the first place It is my opinion that aviation mishaps are a direct result of unresolved hazards. The rate of mishap occurrence is reducible by resolving hazards to aviation as quickly as possible. Even though ICAO is not providing the leadership needed globally to move safety in the correct and desired direction, it is my hope that many other safety minded managers are, and are doing so by regularly working to quickly resolve hazards to safe flight operations. Best regards, Paul Miller

See ICAO Report below:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ICAO Issues Global Safety Report Aviation accidents around the world ticked higher last year, attributable to the resurgence in air traffic, according to ICAO’s inaugural State of Global Aviation Safety Report issued this week. The number of accidents attributed to scheduled commercial flights increased in 2010 to 121, compared to 113 in 2009, resulting in an accident rate of 4.0 per million departures. The accident rate in 2009 was 3.9 per million departures. While the overall number of fatalities in 2010 was below those in 2005 and 2006, there has been an increase in fatalities over the past three years, ICAO said, increasing from 670 in 2009 to 707 in 2010. At the same time, the number of scheduled commercial flights increased by 4.5 percent globally since 2009, which represents the first significant annual growth in the sector since 2007 and coincides with an increase of 4.2 percent in the global GDP. North America, which represents a third of global air transport traffic in terms of departures, was the only region to see a small decrease (0.6 percent) in its aggregate traffic figures. “In the context of this period of renewed growth, and in light of anticipated increases in air travel, it is imperative to maintain a very strong focus on initiatives that will further improve safety outcomes in the future. ICAO is therefore continuously developing and refining more proactive and risk-based methods to further reduce the global accident rate, enabling the safe expansion of air travel in all regions,” according to the report. “ICAO is working in partnership with the international aviation community to achieve continuous reductions in the global accident rate, with an emphasis to improve safety performance in those regions experiencing significantly higher accident rates or having specific safety challenges.”