Monday, December 9, 2013

Hazards – Just As Surprising As Rolling The Dice

There is often a possibility for hazards to be categorized in two different fantasy worlds.  One world  is where it is possible to total eliminate a hazard by conducting a risk assessment. The other world is  when the fantasy run wild and the hazard becomes the only possible option. Hazards must be managed in a Quality Assurance System and compared to facts. If not, one could manage hazards by rolling the dice.
The lifeline of a healthy Safety Management System (SMS)  is to collect, analyze and action reports of hazards, incidents and accidents. Without reports the SMS does not ensure control of risk management and an organizational zero tolerance to compromise aviation safety.  SMS is to get answers to questions not asked.

A hazard is a latent condition, but when armed and activated it becomes an incident. Human factors, organizational factors and environmental factors are the triggers to arm and activate.  When understanding what arms and triggers a hazard, the hazard becomes manageable.
Hazards my be managed by applying knowledge, location or  time When human triggers an armed hazard and apply a subjective standard to mitigation, it becomes a scenario for hazard escalation. Therefore, hazard management requires human understanding, defined mitigation processes and learned procedures.
Aviation safety begins and ends at an aerodrome. At any phase between takeoff, landing and taxiing on the airport, there are identified or unidentified armed hazards which could be activated and triggered by human, organizational or environmental factors. 

Human has the ability to adapt to hazards and set subjective standards of hazard mitigation. People of the  tropical and arctic regions have learned to adapt and mitigate hazards. People in cities have learned to adapt and people of the remote wilderness have learned to adapt.  Both  Aviation Operators and Pilots also have the ability to adapt to hazards.  When human adapts, subjective standards are implemented in hazard management. A subjective standard in hazard mitigation is a scenario for hazard escalation.

When an airplane is operating on a field filled with spectators, everyone is most likely assessing and subjectively managing the associated risk.  Some are close to the airplane and others stay farther away.  The  education level and knowledge of aviation hazards also affects how the hazard is mitigated. Common  sense in hazard mitigate does not cut it.
When common sense is applied to hazards...
During an airplane’s takeoff roll all known and unknown hazards for the duration of that flight are being armed.  When an armed hazard is triggered during the flight and move to the next hierarchy level which is an incident, it becomes the tasks for one or two pilots to analyze and apply correct corrective.  Pilots must therefore have knowledge of what effect the hazard has on flight operations, they must mitigate the hazard’s distance to the fork in the road and they need to mitigate the hazard’s time to escalation.

Measured by distance, the fork in the road is the distance to point of no return, and measured by time, the fork in the road is the time to point of no return.  When the point of no return is reached, the pilots must mitigate the new hazard before arriving at another point of no return. One cannot bring back past time or distance. In an effective hazard management operation, a pilot or pilots in a multiple crew environment must have situational awareness and know when the point of no return is near.