Sunday, May 17, 2015

Non-Punitive Is Not To Accept Honest Mistakes

Some organizations believe that a non-punitive reporting policy is to accept honest mistakes. This is as far from the fact as it could be. A non-punitive reporting policy is to discover deficiencies within an organization. Any time a non-punitive report addresses an excuse for the process, it reflects a non-accountable safety management.

No matter what is regulatory, safety still rests with the operator.
There are no honest mistakes. Mistakes are due to rush, fatigue, inattentiveness, lack of skill, lack of knowledge, anything else, or just laziness. Mistakes are many things, but one thing they are not; is honest. If mistakes were honest, the operator, or contributor to the mistakes would know in advance that the processes or procedures applied intentionally would cause errors. 

Mistakes reflect on organizational management and not on individual errors. In an organization with none or few mistakes, the leadership have conveyed their message clearly, ensured appropriate training and checking results. In an organization with many or frequent mistakes, excuses are applied to the processes and management do not approach, or accept mistakes with accountability. 

Parking next to an airstrip is not an honest mistake but calculated accountability. 
Recognizing organizations which do not apply the non-punitive accountability is simple. Without accountability, organizational errors are removed from management and transferred to an item, a person, a word, a sentence or simply ignored. Non-accountable organizations or organizations that apply non-punitive reporting as honest mistakes are recognized by their self-defense, and opinion of lack of regulatory requirements. These types of organizations don`t acknowledge that safety is operational.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Accepting Risks Without Accountability

It is simple to accept the risk without accountability. That's like spending winnings from a lottery, or spending someone else's cash.  These Non-Accountability Risk Assessments often make references to authorities and accepted guidelines. However, they do not take into account unique elements applicable to an individual risk assessment. Risks assessments are as unique and individual as a person.

First thing that comes to mind is to do a risk-assessment
In aviation, risk assessments are done both formally and informally. Pilots must make informal decision based on immediate risks. An unplanned high approach requires an overshoot, or a medical emergency might require an immediate diversion. Airports make risk assessments to power poles, obstructions, wildlife and water lagoons. There are tons of risk assessment documents written about water lagoons and bird attractions. These documents may be developed based on official reports and table top exercises or informal opinions from local personnel. People who are reporting birds might not know one specie from another. Bird experts who are not aviation oriented might believe that a large bird is less hazards, since they should be easier to see. These types of statements are often accepted as facts, and without considerations,  in risk assessments.

Swimming the Kern river needs an accountable risk assessment
When accepting these types of risk factors based on previous and unknown documented assessments, an operator is assigning a Non-Accountability Risk. The strategy becomes that since someone else did this, it must be OK, and it is less work. But, here is the newsflash; Safety = Work.  Just like someone is saying that there is a Santa Claus, someone is saying that Safety does not cost an extra dime. 

A risk assessment is as individual as the person next to you. Applying Safety Management System principles and processes is the only road map to an Accountable Risk-Assessment.