Flight Attendant Aviation Safety Action Program – AFA Council 66

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ARTICLE: Inclusion of Flight Attendants in ASAP adds to Systematic Safety Approach

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Though not the first such safety program with flight attendants, the adoption of an Aviation Safety Program by the FAA, US Airways management, and AFA Council 66 is a reminder of the value of such programs. The newly adopted Handbook (the above link) does an excellent job of reciting the purpose of ASAP:

Typically, the most common barrier to safety reporting in the industry is the fear of enforcement or disciplinary action by the FAA and/or the Company. Traditional FAA regulatory enforcement has tended to group deliberate wrongdoing with the honest mistakes that professionals make. This discourages reporting of mistakes that reveal system weaknesses and hazards. While the individual may learn something from the event, the larger community (FAs, FAA & US Airways) does not. Further, corrective action cannot be taken if the small events that foretell larger accidents are never brought to the attention of management. By promoting ASAP, the FAA has recognized the potential value of regulators working collaboratively with the aviation industry to collect, understand, and act on safety reports. Some of the safety reports are self-reported violations that are unknown until reported by the individual. However, many safety reports are not of violations.

The italicized words emphasize ASAP’s true contribution—facilitating the discovery of important, emerging, opaque or hidden safety trends. Flight attendants are critical participants in an airline’s safety net; they are knowledgeable and always present when the aircraft operates.

The introduction of ASAP into US Airways’ information system and then once deidentified, the report goes before the Event Review Committee. That tri-party body (FAA, AFA and US Airways) reviews the facts and attempts to discern lessons which can be applied system-wide. The existence and availability of this mechanism, in and of itself, enhances safety for it encourages 24/7 awareness for the flight attendants.

ASAP, ASRS, VDRP and the variety of information gathering systems create a data-rich resource and from that myriad of numbers, trends may be found before they become a problem. Safety Management System is a comprehensive methodology for collecting and analyzing all of the information sources, identifying and prioritizing the problems and finally acting on them. It is a demanding discipline and its introduction is best performed with someone who has passed through this process before, preferably more than once.

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