Sunday, May 22, 2016

Non-Punitive Policy Is Enterprise Accountability

An applicant for, or an operator of an airport or airline certificate is required to have in place a non-punitive for reporting of hazards, incidents, or accidents and is one of the elements of a Safety Management System (SMS). A non-punitive policy is a policy for an airport or airline to allow for free flow of reports in a Just Culture and collection of data within the organization. In a Just Culture environment, a contributor may not fear repercussion from supervisors, managers or other personnel for reporting. A non-punitive policy is not a get-out-of-jail free card, but a policy of organizational accountability.

A non-punitive policy must be understood. 
A non-punitive policy is a policy for the internal reporting of hazards, incidents and accidents, including the conditions under which immunity from disciplinary action will be granted. The fundamental of a non-punitive policy is that it is unconditional with “no strings attached” and with pre-established conditions for when immunity for disciplinary actions are granted.
It may be tempting to simplify a non-punitive policy and apply conditions when immunity is not granted. Some of these conditions could be illegal activity, negligence or willful misconduct.

When applying these conditions, a fundamental principle of accountability in a Safety Management System is jeopardized. These are conditions which places the burden of proof on the last link in chain of events without considering human factors, organizational factors, environmental factors and supervision factors.

In most judicial systems illegal activity is an act committed in violation of law where the consequence of conviction by a court is punishment and where the punishment could be as serious one such as imprisonment. An illegal activity is not a fact until convicted by a court. The basic principle is innocent until proven guilty. It is therefore impossible to apply illegal activity to job performance evaluation and make it a condition of a non-punitive policy.

Negligence is failure to take proper care in doing something. When applying this as a condition of a non-punitive policy it becomes a decision by a supervisor who was not present at the time of incident, or accident. The supervisor was not in the moment of events and included in the ongoing decision making process at the time. Applying negligence as a condition to a non-punitive policy places the burden of proof on person involved without considering human factors, organizational factors, environmental factors and supervision factors.

Any act, or failure to act, by a person that was intended to cause harmful consequences to the safety or property of another person is willful misconduct. When assessing for willful misconduct an evaluation of the mindset at the time of event is required and based on supporting data collected. Applying willful misconduct as a condition to a non-punitive policy places the burden of proof on person involved without considering human factors, organizational factors, environmental factors and supervision factors.

An enterprise has established a maze for options when applying illegal activity, negligence or willful misconduct
A non-punitive policy is only credible, without bias and with organizational accountability when including pre-established conditions for when immunity for when disciplinary actions are granted. These conditions are based on job performance criteria, job descriptions with associated tasks and the intent of job performance outcome. When applying organizational accountability, personal accountability and that mistakes are not accepted to a non-punitive policy, the policy considers human factors, organizational factors, environmental factors and supervision factors to ensure correct training and competence.

Helena1320