Aviation Safety Culture is most Effective When it becomes Viral Everywhere in Organizations

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Are You Cultured?

Bill Miller, NATA’s Chairman of its Safety 1st Committee and a Signature Flight team member, wrote on his Committee’s blog under the above catchy headline. As clever as the title is, the body contains words that everyone who works in aviation should read and heed.

The rubrics of aviation are all too often primarily focused on the paperwork of regulations. The regulators are most comfortable examining records, perusing documents and matching industry handbooks against agency guidance.

While all of that obsession with written works is important evidence of compliance, Mr. Miller well describes a universally shared passion for pursuing safety 24/7/365. He points out that these “socially transmitted behaviors” are transmitted virally. For example, when a line maintenance person sees his company’s COO take the time to check that the blocks on a plane are secured, that observation will motivate the line worker to attack his safety job with greater vigor. Equally, the Director of Flight Operations will derive inspiration from a thoughtful, detailed memorandum from his newly hired pilot that provides insights which come from initial impressions.

Safety culture, as Mr. Miller made it clear, is an attitude, a vigilance and an awareness that each “citizen” must adopt with fervor. No one, high or low, is exempt and in fact, the more pervasive the culture, the more effective this attack to enhance safety will be.

Mr. Miller, good job of promoting your culture!

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