• Walter Kraujalis is the presenter for two upcoming NBAA Workshops next month:
o IS-BAO Operations Manual Workshop, June 16-17, West Palm Beach, FL. Link http://www.nbaa.org/events/pdp/is-bao-flight-operations-manualworkshop/20140616/
o Management Fundamentals for Flight Departments, June 18-19, West Palm Beach, FL. Link: http://www.nbaa.org/events/pdp/management/20140618/
• I want to continue to foster the dialog among Safety Officers. These conference calls are but one means to get together and compare notes. Some ideas:
o AeronomX has put together the Safety Officers Forum on LinkedIn. To join, go to this link: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/AeronomX-Safety-Officers-Forum7474525/about
o Let’s not forget about NBAA’s Airmail and the Safety category. Over the years, Airmail has proven itself as a useful tool for communication within our industry. I encourage Safety Officers to make more use of this category. Go to your subscriptions page on NBAA at www.NBAA.org/Airmail and make sure you are subscribed to “Safety”.
o If you know 2 or 3 other Safety Officers in other nearby flight departments, I encourage you to consider forming a local Safety Officer Roundtable. It can be whatever you want it to be. One informal approach is to get together for lunch once a month or a quarter, and talk about issues each of you are dealing with. Let me know if I can help in any way, by helping get groups together, or topics of discussion.
CAVEAT: It is difficult to get into much detail in writing up these meeting notes as to what exactly was discussed about each issue, so you are encouraged to join in on the next calls. Names are changed in this report for anonymity.
• The call started with a topic that was brought up at the end of the last conference call but there was not enough time to talk about it. The issue is: How do various flight departments handle the situation of calling the pilots during their rest period? Schedule changes and other things come up, so how do you let the pilots know without interfering with their required rest?
o Wanda said that their scheduling folks send an email to the crew to call in once they are awake to notify them of the changes.
o Mike said that their dispatchers handle as much as they can of the changes on behalf of the pilots and send an email to the crew about the changes. If the changes affect the time the crew needs to depart, they wait and time the call to coincide with when the crew should be waking up to handle the schedule change. This of course is presuming the crew has had adequate rest.
• Walter Kraujalis brought up a new topic. He said that on a recent SMS audit, he heard the client tell a story of how one of their best mechanics, the one that all the pilots wanted to work on the airplane, was discovered to be doing something out of line, not to procedure. The client commented “how could he do that?” In the interests of a “just culture”, shouldn’t the question be phrased, “how did WE do that?” If your best guy is doing something not to procedure, doesn’t that mean there’s a chance that ALL of your mechanics are doing it? Do we blame him, or do we claim responsibility? Claim, not blame. There must be some reason, some motivation, why this employee was doing it.
o A caller said that they have a small department and do monthly internal auditing checks as part of their subscription with ARGUS. They pretty much know what each other is doing. Nothing like this would happen here because people would get caught.
o Another caller said they have a chain of command. If something like this was going on, it would get caught. They would discuss what to do and how to handle the situation.
o Walter Kraujalis wanted to clarify the issue with a hypothetical situation. Let’s say this good mechanic was not strictly following the new tool control program. Sure he complied from time-to-time, but not always. And this time he didn’t and inadvertently left his flashlight in the hell-hole of the plane. One of the pilots on the next preflight discovers the flashlight and writes it up as a hazard report. The investigation figures out this mechanic left it behind and did not account for it with a tool check. What do you do with that mechanic?
o A caller said that they would have to make sure the mechanic understood the tool control procedure and maybe would shadow him for a couple of days to make sure he was complying. This probably wouldn’t happen at our flight department because we have the automatic tool boxes that account for each tool. We have to make sure he is doing his job.
o Dave commented that we would have to look at why the mechanic did that. Maybe we should check our procedures. Maybe there is a bigger problem with our tool control program, or morale, or proper supervision issues.
o Another caller said that they would look at their culture of what’s going on in the maintenance department. Everyone is supposed to be following routine company procedures. We would probably take action against this individual for not following procedures.
o Rick said that they would call their Safety Committee together, and run a root cause analysis.
o Another called said that if he was not following company protocol, he would get a letter to his file. We need to change his behavior. Employees need to care about rules. There must be consequences for those that break the rules.
o Walter Kraujalis asked what about the policy of no disciplinary action with hazard reports?
o One caller said that in this hypothetical, it was a pilot that wrote up the hazard report, not the mechanic. So the mechanic does not get the benefit of no disciplinary action.
o Dave said that we need to find out if the mechanic’s actions were deliberate or a mistake. We need to ask the mechanic directly. Maybe his actions were “endorsed” by someone. We would do a root cause analysis.
o Another caller said that we need to look at the whole picture. Why is our “best” guy not following procedure? What is our “worse” guy doing? Maybe there is something wrong with our procedure.
o Another caller said they would retrain the first time. Next time discipline. o Another caller said that they would investigate why it wasn’t important to that mechanic to follow procedures. Maybe we did not convince everyone of the importance and purpose for the procedure. The “best” person in a department is typically held out as a leader in the group.
o [EDITOR’S COMMENT: That is the end of the comments and just a quick note for clarification. The issue was not specifically about tool control programs, but was used only as a hypothetical situation to discuss the notion of “claim, not blame”. Yes, there are definitely times that employees should be disciplined for poor behavior or not following procedures. A couple of final thoughts:
§ It is important to honor the non-discipline policy – here the mechanic did not write the report, he didn’t even know he left the flashlight behind. So technically he specifically doesn’t get the benefit from the “Cloak of Indisciplinity” with writing a report. But what if he did, and said the tool policy was too onerous to work with?
§ It is important to understand “why” someone does what they do. Here your best guy was not following a procedure. Why? In a just culture, there should be the belief that we have good people working here, well-intentioned, welltrained. So why would one of them – rather, one of “us” do something like that.
§ All food for thought….
• That concluded the call. It was 30 minutes in length. Next call is Tuesday, May 27th, at 11:30am Eastern time. Thank you for your participation. Please let other Safety Officers know of the opportunity to join the call or to access these meeting notes.