Monday, November 23, 2015

Best Vocabulary Keeps Aviation Safe

Everyone believe they are the key piece to keep aviation safe. However, it’s the one with the best vocabulary who wins the deal.

For a moment, let’s simplify activities and group into; regulatory, operational and servicing. After major accidents the regulatory response is that there are regulations in place to prevent accidents, operational response that they are fully trained and capable and servicing that technical items were functioning properly. Everyone assigns credit to their own group. With this approach, the one with best vocabulary wins the deal. But, there is no single answer to accident prevention.

When an internal auditor does an audit of compliance of regulatory, operational or servicing data, questions are asked to management and employees. Answer given may vary from elaborating on the issue, to a few short words. If questioning includes people of the incorrect group, who should not be included in the knowledge database, then the results are skewed to non-compliance. When the correct sample is applied to the group, it becomes the one with best vocabulary who wins the deal.

Audits and internal compliance inspections are of job-performance, job-understanding, job-knowledge and process applications. If an internal audit applies the bar of non-regulatory compliance as illegal activities and verbal communication to statement of facts, then the audit becomes invalid as a job-performance and process applications.

Internal audits and compliance inspections requires to be assessed within a standard of parameters. Verbal communication is not standardized, since personnel use different vocabulary to describe same event. Events are remembered differently and ethnical background makes a difference in answers given. An auditor may also lack questioning and communication skills, since they are experts in applying checklist items and are not experts in asking questions. At the end of the day, the auditor, or compliance inspector, determines the outcome. When outcome is based on gut-feelings of answers given, data is obscured by fog and the results are skewed in a bias direction in favor of best vocabulary.  

Samples of standardized questions, or multiple-choice questions, which then are processed with Statistical Process Control (SPC) are non-bias methods to assess processes for regulatory and safety compliance. Timed questions, in groups of 3-5 short questions, specific and targeted are data collection tools.  Online survey tools are great in assisting internal auditors and compliance inspectors with non-bias questions to ensure assessment of job-performance and not of vocabulary performance.