Safety in Aviation and Beyond

KingAirIn the Fall of each year the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) publishes a pair of reports on accident trends and safety in aviation.  The reports are published though AOPA’s Air Safety Institute.  The reports are the Joseph T. Null Report and the GA Accident Score Card.  I was reviewing both today and glad to see that the aviation industry continues to the safest levels of operations in history.

AOPA Chart

Source: AOPA 2016-2017 GA Accident Scorecard

I have previously considered how these results are being achieved.  Obviously the success of the aviation and aerospace community is important for pilots and flying public.  The actions I believe are driving these results are:

  • Equipment Design Safety and Approval
  • Rigorous regulator Oversight
  • Extensive Training Programs (including currency)
  • Aviation Risk Management
  • A Focus on Human Error Avoidance
  • Safety Culture of Aviation

My experience as an OSH Professional, and a private pilot, allow me to have a unique and wide view of the potential impact of safety producing methods in aviation.  I believe that these methods can be applied to other settings such as manufacturing.  How can this be done?  Leaders at sites and businesses outside of aviation that are committed to improving are encouraged to:

  • Demand a higher standard of performance
  • Be preoccupied with failure and preventing it
  • Frequently train in the classroom, require
    demonstration and conduct refresher training
  • Maximize pre-job planning
  • Engineer in extra reliability
  • Focus on human performance/human error
    reduction
  • Maximize organizational discipline

Take a look at this presentation for more detail: Lessons Learned from Aviation’s Safety Record: What can We Apply to the Occupational Setting?  I used these slides for a presentation to the Central Indiana Chapter of the ASSP in the Spring.  The Chapter met at my home airport of Indianapolis Executive (KTYQ).  It was pretty fun to do it in the hanger with all those fast birds sitting around!

Presentation at Indy Exec

Even with all this success there is more work to be done for sure!  Take the recent loss of a state of the art Boeing 737 flown by Lion Air (Flight 610) as an example of the challenges in safely operating in the aerospace environment.  But, each year important gains are made, and these to will help raise the state of the art in safety of other industries.

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About Chet Brandon

I am a highly experienced Health, Safety and Environmental Professional for Fortune 500 Companies. I love the challenge of ensuring HSE excellence in process, manufacturing and other heavy industry settings. The connection of EHS to Sustainability is a fascinating subject for me. I believe that the future of industrial organizations depends on the adoption of sustainable practices.
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