Sunday, November 30, 2014

Identifying Hazards To Aviation Safety

The lowest level of safety in a safety regulated airline industry is to maintain regulatory requirements, which is a safety management system including a quality assurance program. In a safety environment the regulations establishes safety objectives for operational management and control.

A safety management system includes a process for identifying hazards to aviation safety and for evaluating and managing the associated risks. There are several methods to identify hazards.

One often applied method is the "shotgun" approach with an objective to report any hazard discovered. This approach may be combined with an encouragement whoever submits the most gets a prize. With this very broad and undefined definition to report a hazard  own experience becomes a determining factor if a situation or item is a hazard to justify a report. Some scenarios are therefore not identified as a hazard while others justify everything unusual as a hazard.

A hazard are to some to be parked next to a runway, while others see it as a mitigated event.
Another approach is for the organization to established a criteria for hazards to be found, and expect that each person identifies this criteria when reporting a hazard. With this approach the organization has established what to be on lookout for and instill alertness for these items. Some hazardous situations may therefore not be identified, since the task was to find hazards that fit an established criteria.

A third option in hazard identification is to establish a time-frame when to identify hazards. This could be between 8-9 AM, or 3-4 PM or any other times during the day. With this approach the task assigned is time oriented, and hazards outside of these set hours may not be identified and reported.

The regulatory requirement is to establish and includes a process for identifying hazards to aviation safety, one scenario of hazard identification is as good as the other. All hazard scenarios give the organization an opportunity to identify hazards, and managing associated risks. Since a hazard is a latent incident, and unknown until discovered, there is no right or wrong method to discover hazards, only right or wrong methods to apply corrective actions. 

The success to hazard management is to find the door where the key belong.
Hazard identification is not only valuable to mitigate the hazard itself, but also to assess organizational effectiveness. The "shotgun" approach could be applied in evaluation of organizational hazard identification training, if discovered that hazards reported were extremely high or extremely low. An established criteria approach to hazards could be applied to find out how well the organization conform to required processes. While the hazard-time approach could be applied to identify any change in level of task awareness during working hours. Applications of hazard reporting becomes indefinite when thinking outside the box identifying hazards to aviation.