FAA employee confidential safety reporting
The most significant safety asset on earth for pilots is the ability to report safety concerns, especially self-induced safety concerns, confidentially. Not only does it get the reporting pilot out of hot water, but it also helps other pilots benefit from what we learn from another pilot’s mistakes and errors. Now, FAA Aviation Safety employees (approximately 7,400) will benefit from the same safety initiative.
The FAA’s new Voluntary Safety Reporting Program seeks to incentivize its employees to report safety-related concerns and issues. The initiative is designed to help safety inspectors, engineers, systems safety specialists, and other safety employees feel safe as they report concerns confidentially without fear of disciplinary action.
The program was created because of pressure faced by the FAA during the two high-profile Boeing 737 MAX accidents several years ago. The Agency was accused of not being strict enough in its oversight of the MAX Certification process, especially with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). In addition, the FAA wants to make sure that all employees feel confident in their ability to speak up if they see something they don’t feel comfortable with safety-wise. The Agency says it already has several voluntary safety reporting programs in place but felt that an additional program was necessary to make sure that concerns could be voiced by ALL parties involved in safety-related occupations. Since 1998 when the FAA first introduced these safety reporting systems, fatal air accident risk has decreased by 94%. However, more work can always be done where safety is concerned.
When a safety concern is reported, an Event Review Team will step in with experts in the subject matter. They will then evaluate the issue, recommend corrective action, and monitor the reported issue going forward. The FAA wants all employees to feel confident in their ability to speak up if something is bothering them, and I think the flying public feels the same way. Hopefully, we won’t see any more tragedies like the MAX accidents anytime soon.