Aviation Safety

Aviation Safety


Dateof submission:

AviationSafety System

Withinthe jurisdiction of aviation, safety is defined as the standards setat which the potential of harm to passengers or property issignificantly reduced to a certain degree or and kept at or belowcertain acceptable level by use of a continuing process of hazardidentification and safety risk management (National Data Analysis Center (U.S.), 2004). The ultimate goal of aviationsafety system is the elimination of aircraft accidents and othersevere incidents which the industry is always at risk during theaircraft flights. However, despite the concerted safety measures putin place to contain accidents and other fatal incidents, the aviationindustry can never be fully free of associated risks and hazards.This is because aviation industry involve the use of aircraft whichare man-made, and always the human built systems or any humanactivities has no guarantee that operational errors and the attachedconsequences are absolutely absent.

Therefore,in the strict sense of the word, safety is termed as the widelyevolving subject in the aviation industry, which calls for continuousmitigation of varied safety risks. The safety measures provided byaviation system ought to be in total compliance to the acceptablestandards. Consequently, before it is ratified and meet the expectedstandards the safety performance of any given aviation industry hasto be determined by both international and domestic culture andnorms. Provided the safety requirements are kept under an acceptablelevel of control, a system which is dynamic and open like aviationindustry can still keep an appropriate balance between protection andproduction (National Data Analysis Center (U.S.),2004).

Theobjective of the safety measures put in place in the manual gives thestates, service and product providers with the essential safetymanagement requirements. It provides a summary of International CivilAviation Organization (ICAO) safety management, standards andRecommended Practices (SARPs) (National Data AnalysisCenter (U.S.), 2004). The set objectives and goals give the provisionthat guides the initiation and the implementation of state Safetyprogram which is in compliance with the essential SARPS, ICAO thisis in conformity with the regulatory framework relevant with theoversight service and product provider’s safety management system(SMS) (National Data Analysis Center (U.S.), 2004).In addition, the laid down objectives offers an integral framework toguide the development of SMS, its maintenance and implementation.

Thestructure of the aviation safety management manual is divided intofour chapters. Chapter one gives the groundwork that elaborates anoverview of the overall manual and it is further divided into foursections that is, the general concept, objectives and goals,structure and procedure and lastly it contains an explanation ofaviation safety program (ASP) (National Data AnalysisCenter (U.S.), 2004). The second chapter examines the essentialsafety management concepts and processes, the aviation safetyregulations. This subject is discussed in three sections that is thegeneral concept concerning the aviation safety regulations, itsobjectives and goals and procedure used for its implementation.Chapter three gives an assemblage of the ICAO safety management SARPswhich are located in a number of Annexes 1,6,8,11,13 and 14. This isthe safety risk management which focuses on hazard identification andexplored with greater explanation in this chapter. The last chapterprovides a concise outline that gives a progressive approach to thecreation, maintenance and implementation of an SMS and SSP that iscrisis management system. It is ordered into four sections wherebythe emphasis is on emergency implementation plan.

Theprocedure for aircraft operations gives the right approach andappropriate framework to bring about the desired safety. Though itis not only aircraft flights that pose safety concerns, these risksare also common for every mode of transport but air transport faceshigher chances of safety issues than any other means of transport.The history of aviation industry indicates that most risks anddangers were limited due to individuals and other groups of peoplefollowing the provided procedures guiding the aviation operations. Itis therefore, the responsibility of passengers and aviation personnelto become conversant with the relevant procedures.

Aviationsafety programs have for long been conservative in its structure,mainly based on investigations and reactive analysis of events andmishaps (Howell at al., 2007). The current extreme reduced accidentsrates calls for a proactive approach to alleviate the aviation safetylevel. To set in place effective safety programs in the aviationindustry is costly and it requires utility of massive resources. Butdue to a significant reduction of resources in the aviation industryhas made these organization adopts new strategies that offersappropriate safety management that is within its business frameworkof operations. Therefore, to implement a proactive safety approachfor keeping safety is a comprehensive and a systematic process thatis aimed at resolving the safety risks and in turn harmonizes theexisting management of technical and operations systems with humanand financial resources (Howell at al., 2007). The safety managementsystem (SMS), its principles requires the correct identification andappropriate mitigation of latent errors in the system that is inconformity to aviation industry operation and business processes.

Aviationsafety regulations

Theaviation safety regulations have undergone several transformationssince early 1900s. This evolution has recorded significant progressexpressed in three different eras that is the technical era, humanfactor era and the organizational era. The technical era commencedfrom the early 1900s and lasted through to the late 1960s (Howell atal., 2007). Prior and during this period the aviation industry wasconsidered the best and fast form of mass public transport, but asafety deficiencies surfaced which was inclined mainly totechnological failures and technical-based factors. Consequently, theconcern to address these deficiencies was inclined to undertaking theinvestigation and resolving the technical factors that were cripplingthe aviation industry. At the middle of the twentieth centurysignificant breakthrough had been made which saw the improvement oftechnology and therefore resulted to a gradual reduction of accidentsoccurrence, what is more is that the safety processes incorporatedregulatory oversight and compliance.

Afterthis technical era, human factors era sets in from the early 1970still the middle the 1990s. At this moment, the aviation accidentswere minimal thanks to tremendous progress in technological areawhich largely boosted safety regulations. Air transport wasconsidered safe and confidence increased with the use of aircraftsjust like the other modes of transport. The safety focus broadened toinclude human factors aspects which were man/machine interface(Howell at al., 2007).

Researchand investigations broaden to seek information extending beyond thesafety risks generated by the technical aspects which were earlierthe main area investigated. Extensive mobilization of resources toinvestigate technical risks brought about error mitigation whichreduced accidents arising as a result of technical errors, but on theother hand, human performance began to be a major safety issue whichwas linked to be a recurring causing factor of accidents. Examinationof human factors took center stage whereby the science ofinvestigation and research focused on the individual, withoutcomplete consideration of organizational and operational context.Before 1990s the operational environment of individuals was not knownto be complex but upon this discovery multiple factors was understoodto affect behavior.

Asa result of discovering the human complex environment from the middleof 1990s to the present day, organization era began. Theinvestigations were leverage which attempts to understand theorganizational structure of human environment. During this era safetymeasures started to be viewed from a systemic perspective, with anaim to add organizational factors to the technical and human factorsearlier investigated. During this period, a new term for accidentemerge referred to as organizational accident. This term came intousage and it is largely determined by the culture and policies of anorganization with regard to effectiveness of safety risks controls.To improve on the traditional analysis and the data collectionefforts, which initially were limited to use of data collected fromthe investigation of accidents and severe incidents, this narrowapproach, was supplemented with a new proactive approach to safety(National Data Analysis Center (U.S.), 2004). Theapproach was made up of analysis of data collected on routine by useof proactive and also reactive methodologies to detect emergingsafety issues and access the known safety risks. The new approachoffered the needed reinforcement which in turn helped the developmentof rationale essential to achieve a progressive management approach.

Theaviation safety coordinator set up these policies in theorganization. Safety program developed ought to be consistent withthe ICAO standards and recommended practices (SARPs) which are aimedat making the organization attains the appropriate acceptable levelsof safety in the aviation industry (National DataAnalysis Center (U.S.), 2004). These include several activitiestargeted to fulfill the safety program objectives. The benchmark forthe organization safety policies are the state safety program whichascertain that their directives and regulations is strictly met inany aviation industry, completely in harmony and command the goodconduct of operators from the view of air traffic services, aircraftand aerodromes maintenance.

Theorganization aviation safety coordinator develops a policy frameworkwhich offers necessary provisions to leverage implementation of otherpackage of safety activities as contained and directed in the SMS.Therefore, the safety coordinator would have to factor the certifiedaerodrome operators and maintenance organization ATS providers whichare stipulated by SMS, that the coordinator shall identify safetyhazards, put in place remedial plans relevant to resolve any arisingrisks and also shall offer a constant assessment and timelymonitoring to ensure all the safety measures are implemented andachieved.

Assuch the coordinator is required to inspect the implementation ofaviation safety regulations. Beginning from the technical issues ofthe aircrafts and aerodromes, recruiting qualified and experiencedservicing engineers to check and rectify any arising faulty technicalfaults and errors. The coordinator should access and manage the humanpersonnel carrying out daily organizational operations. Humanpersonnel who are healthy, experienced and highly trained must begiven right incentives and motivation in order to be committed in theoperation and avoid laxity that may bring about accidents (National Data Analysis Center (U.S.), 2004). In addition, thecoordinator should look into the organizational structure, to addressany arising cases of inefficient operations that pose a risk to thesafety of the organization.

Safetyrisk management

Thesafety management system (SMS) targets to establish appropriatestructures that control any arising operational risks in the aviationindustry. Safety management is mostly understood to be the use of thecertain set of framework, principles measures and processes tomitigate injuries, accidents and other adverse impacts caused byutilizing a particular product or service. It is the function that isapplied by the managers to aid and improve the discharge of theirresponsibilities and duties in the implementation and operationalsystem design. Usually this function is done through undertakingpredictions of possible deficiencies in the system long before theactual errors occurs or it can be done through identification andmaking necessary mitigation of the system’s deficiencies by theexperts analysis of safety occurrences (Howell at al., 2007).

Inother word, safety management entails the adoption of a systemicapproach to maintain safety, which encompasses the organizationalstructure, policies, procedures and accountabilities. The formalsystem that is used to identify and access hazards and safety risksmanagement is crucial in an effort to regulating risks to acceptablestandards. An organization safety system is based on an orderlyapproach to identify risks and in turn brings about risks managementwith an aim to reduce the impact on financial, environmental,property, societal and human losses.

Quiteoutstanding progress has been made in the aviation industry tomaintain good practices over during the years it has been inexistence. Regular improvement in the rates of accident occurrence isbeing witnessed globally. The personnel involved with the overseeingof system safety regularly challenge the culture, the system and theprocesses in a bid to improve weaknesses identification that can thenbe resolved and addressed within the grand purpose of risksprevention.

Thesystem safety is a subject which is an integrated process to examinethe system features and propose appropriate solutions to mitigaterisks from occurring (Howell at al., 2007). It is the mandate of theSMS process to scrutinize hazards and gives the appropriate controlof risks, and thus gives an assurance that measures put in place tocontrol risks are effective.

Toundertake effective risk identification the aviation safetycoordinator should understand risks and figure out the appropriatecontrol measures. This makes part of an important concept in themanagement of the departmental aviation. The aviation safetycoordinator is required to develop a risk assessment plan which hasto become part of a continuous process in use and not taken to becomean end in itself. Personnel involved in the use of the plan shouldincorporate the safety management systems that features riskidentification and management (Howell at al., 2007) . The coordinatoris required to make a qualitative approach in place of quantitativeapproach, in addition the use of historical data is allowed that giveany relevant information to ascertain the possibility of an eventoccurring and thus able to offer some indication as to the expectedconsequences.

Thosepersonnel and the other individuals involved in the operation ofaircraft and are accountable for activities of a flight and therelated roles, should be part of the risk identification and processof making decisions. Aviation safety coordinator and the associatepersonnel should ensure the risk assessment format is implemented. Inthe format the activity to be carried out is identified, theassociated hazards, the best possible form of mitigation procedureare conducted at the relevant level of risks. The coordinatorassessed all the possible practical risks control methods, includingthose that are currently in use, thereby he/she examines the currentrisk level and then depending on the level of risks identified, canchoose the more risk management strategies in an attempt to narrowthe level of risk to the one usually acceptable and in use by thedepartment.

Theaviation is attributed to more risks than any other mode of transportbecause it is considered airborne in an aeroplane or in a helicopterwhich can easily result in human and mechanical hazards due to highheights and speed. Therefore, it is difficult to control theresultant consequences, which means it is more feasible to mitigatethe risks leading to the occurrence of accidents and other severeincidences (Howell at al., 2007). The ultimate consequence may beprevented through such means as considering crash-worthy seating andputting on clothing that are fire-resistant and helmets. In addition,this can be achieved by taking controls such as training, standards,task profile or even design. In order to provide relevant andeffective form of control, the aviation safety coordinator shouldconsider the hierarchy of controls to make proper assessment. Theleast methods of preventing risks should be put at the bottom in thehierarchy diagram which shows that the control measure needs severalother controls to become effective in mitigating the risk. As such itis a prudent practice to select a number of controls in more than onegroup to improve the effectiveness of the risk mitigation.

Crisismanagement system

Theterm crisis is defined as the “A critical event or point ofdecision which, if not handled in an appropriate and timely manner(or if not handled at all), may turn into a disaster or catastrophe.”(Howell at al., 2007). The aviation industry in general withoutexcluding those with a highly profiled reputation is faced withseveral risk of crisis as a result of a number of events such assevere weather disruption, aircraft crash, major passenger issues,staff disputes, political crises, regulatory changes, hijackings,sanctions or any other less profiled issues. Having the public as theessential component of the majority of commercial aviationoperations, most of the crisis occurrence rapidly attracts mediacoverage and position the aviation industry or company reputation tothe spotlight (Howell at al., 2007). The airport and airlinesoperators must accordingly be in a position to initiate an immediatecrisis respond through activating crisis management program, alegislative requirement put in place by the airport and airlinesoperators.

Whenthis drastic steps are not taken the crisis in question would spiraland run out of control. When a crisis is handled and addressed in apoor manner, the reputation of the organization in question willextensively be damaged and in effect result in the drop of thebusiness operations. In the event of a crisis, the organization willbe required to manage the resultant crisis issues while at the sametime ensure the other businesses run and operate with minimaldisruption. A management with sound, calm, decisive management andeffective planning is required under such disrupted environment(National Data Analysis Center (U.S.), 2004).

Whena crisis is managed well by a given aviation industry, though severe,through such means as proper crisis communication and crisismanagement strategies can help restore the legitimacy and reputationof a given company. Under these circumstances, many shareholdersdemanding for information must be handled with professionalism andprovided satisfactory information that meets their expectations andhence the company will be able to gain their legitimacy. When aclear and proper strategy is conveyed that outlines the manner withwhich the aviation industry is working to attain flight safety,ensures its reputation is maintained and shows it meets the expectedaviation crisis management requirements.

Otherincidences might not facilitate the failure of the aviation companybut it basically can damage the reputation of such companies whichusually result in the embarrassment of the industry and hence cause asignificant drop on revenues for a certain period of time. Forinstance, these incidences include labour problems, inappropriateactions by a flight crew and non-safety related regulatoryviolations. In these entire crises, an effective means ofcommunication will go a long way to prevent the explosion of the badsituation into unmanageable proportions that taints the reputationsof the aviation’s industry (National Data AnalysisCenter (U.S.), 2004).

Inappropriatecommunication strategies, on the other hand, usually cause the crisisblow to unprecedented levels and results to irreparable damage to theorganization. The occurrence of severe aviation crisis are relativelyfew which means when they do occur, the aviation industries would beless prepared to timely and adequately respond to those crises. Manyaviation companies has crisis safety management plans, however, thoseprovisions are few often found combined with the operationsactivities. Where at most cases will delay the response or might leadto a total failure inviting dire consequences. The extent and natureof the crises responses differ from one company to another dependingon the scope and nature of the operations of a company.

Ofimportance, therefore, is that every company must have a clear planin order to gain control of the situation immediately it occurs(National Data Analysis Center (U.S.), 2004) . Theaviation safety coordinator must establish the crises communicationteam, which will vary depending on organizational size. This team maybe made up of CEO, the managers of the important operating units, thehead of public relations, the security officer, the corporate counseland the head of the human resources (National DataAnalysis Center (U.S.), 2004) . The communication manager should beappointed to oversee the communications with first investigators andresponders. Aviation coordinator should also appoint and train aspokesperson, who at most cases is the company’s CEO. Thespokesperson together with the other employees who are required to bein touch with the media should be given specialized training andcoaching.

Theinternal communication plan should be developed by the safetycoordinator to notify the occurrence of crisis to the company’semployees particularly those in touch with the customers. So as tofamiliarize with the news media, the safety coordinator shoulddevelop a media strategy. This is because at the event of a crisis,the building of relationship with the media will not be possible.When this familiarity and relationship is in existence at the time ofcrisis the media will be aware of the company’s reputation and thusreport well. Another important step is to identify all the relevantexternal stakeholders and the effective means for communicating withthem. The company also should have a social media policy and let itbe known by the employees. Safety coordinator must identifyappropriate items of information that will aid in the crisis andlastly the aviation safety coordinator should create an appropriatesocial media and internet strategy to resolve the overloading oftraffic searches on the company’s website during a crisis (National Data Analysis Center (U.S.), 2004).


National Data Analysis Center (U.S.). (2004). Aviation safetydatabase resources guide. Washington, D.C.: National Data Analysis Center, Office of System Safety.

Howell,W. C., Van, H. S. B., &amp National Research Council (U.S.). (2007).Staffing standards for aviation safety inspectors. Washington, D.C:National Academies Press.