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Chain, Chain, Chain

From Issue 1/92

Company Aviation Safety Management

Immediately after an aircraft crashes, accident investigators launch into a concentrated search for cause factors. Their sole objective is to identify the cause and communicate it to the aviation industry in an attempt to reduce the chances of a repeat performance by another operator. Fortunately, many aircraft operators benefit from this approach to accident prevention, but, regrettably, someone always has to have paid the supreme price. You cannot just rely on learning from the mistakes of others ¾ it's too much of a sacrifice for them!

In the majority of cases, accidents happen as a result of an unbroken chain of events that ultimately results in total system failure, but these events that form the chain can be controlled. As soon as the sequence of events is positively altered, the chain is broken and the accident prevented and reported as an incident with accident potential.

Breaking the chain is a challenge that all aircraft operators are confronted with. Some do it systematically and very effectively. Others do it by trial and error. The latter method very often costs lives and money in large amounts.

We believe that successful operators function efficiently and safety because of their Company Aviation Safety Management Program. With an effective program in place, accident chains rarely form. And in cases where they do begin to form, they are broken after the second or third link.

It does not matter how large or small an operation is. It could be one single-engined aircraft or a complex fleet of wide-bodied jet transports. The principles of aviation safety management are applicable to either and all of those in between.

Responsibility for safety always has to start at the top and work down through the various levels of management to the bottom rung.

Safety management requires professionalism, integrity and two-way communication. With effective communication and responsible attitudes, safety deficiencies are identified, reported and eliminated. To identify deficiencies, which are actually links of the accident chain, most operators require a dedicated safety officer to act as an advisor to the chief executive officer, a safety committee and a reporting mechanism so that all employees can assist in the identification of system flaws.

In the case of a one-person operation, the individual has to wear all the hats but still apply the basic principles of monitoring, identifying and acting to eliminate system deficiencies and reduce the accident potential.

We believe that our accident-prevention program offers a solution for establishing effective safety management.

The Directorate of System Safety staff in all of our regions provides guidance, courses and workshops on Company Aviation Safety Management to the Canadian aviation industry without cost.

If you do not have a safety program tailored to your needs, call on your Regional Aviation Safety Officer for assistance. Click here to view the list of regional offices.

Try it — you might like it!

Originally Published: ASL 1/1998
Original Article: From Issue 1/92 - Company Aviation Safety Management