Safety is Local

Why is being local an important aspect of any safety program?

The answer is quite simple: the owner of an asset has the most vested interest in preserving the assets by a safety program. Government and other organizations do have safety programs and they are important to aviation, especially commercial aviation. But the local program has the ability to address every threat to the preservation of assets, even those which might not initially alarm or get the attention of a government program.
Here is an example: Several years ago, the FAA and the City of Sacramento opened a previously closed former military airfield as an additional city airport. The airport was not crowded, but late night noise was an issue for the main airport neighbors. So air express cargo and package airlines were moved to the new field.

But neither the FAA nor the companies were alarmed by the airfield being put into operation without an air traffic control towner, without a crash fire and rescue crew and equipment, and without approach lighting and radar.

The pilot association was alarmed and raised the safety concern locally at the company, the city and the FAA. It was the local concern expressed by the pilot group which led the FAA, the city and the company to install a working tower, crash crew, approach lighting and radar.

Local input in safety programs is critical to safety. The upshot is that the company has suffered no aviation mishaps, in what initially was a high risk operation.

Published by Capt. Paul Miller

Aviation safety expert with 43 years in the sky

5 thoughts on “Safety is Local

  1. You might ask, why wasn't the owner of the planes, that is the airline company as concerned as the pilot group? Good question!Consider this: Flight managers and commercial managers are often only concerned mainly about their own career. So safety to them might be a legal issue, not a personal issue.But the pilot group is different. Unions and other employee associations were started to endorse safety for their members.Pilots put their own selves in the seat, so in this sense "ownership" is the ownership of one's own safety. One is organizational and one is personal. Which one would you say is would be the biggest supporter of a local element in leadership in safety programs?


  2. Also, culturally, managers in large organizations tend not to offer major changes. There is often nothing to be gained and many people to be "put off by major changes."But the pilot group is not as limited by conservative corporate culture and may want to change things up for their own safety benefit.


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