Air Transport Operations and Safety Management

1. Coursework question

List and describe the main elements of hazard identification and risk management process. Your answer should include consideration of how the effectiveness of risk management controls can be measured in an airline. 

2. Hazard identification and risk analysis

A standard Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis (HIRA) procedure is the major element of any management process, especially if it concerns the airline industry. Whenever people are talking about the airline system, they mean risk-free and safe flights for the purpose to serve people in the best way possible. The most essential factor of any safety system is preparation for possible risks or hazards as well as readiness to face them effectively. The reason for the implementation of such a system is because it is effective and includes features that address various problems related to perceived risks as well as it uses all available resources of support. and finally, the culture of the management system. This structure could be considered as the one to monitor all elements of management.

The HIRA system includes the process of evaluation of all possible risk issues, facilities, life cycle of resources, human factors, people, and environment. The process is formed in the way to address the risk aspects in the following way (Draft Guidance Material 2010):

1) Identify the hazard in terms of what can go wrong;

2) Weight the consequences in respect of bad outcomes;

3) Consider the likelihood and timing of risk factors and their influence on possible hazards.

2.1. Air transport operations and safety management.

All health and safety regulations are expected to be performed with accordance to Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) activities that are aimed to make the personnel ready for possible hazards. It is important to know how to identify the hazard risk and project its possible outcomes such as illness, disease, or injury (Work Safe 2011).

Results of such actions can be positive if an effective risk management system is used along with a strategy to implement it properly based on the directions of the Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSMS). This system outlines the ways to deal with standard hazards and gives the detailed instruction on how to identify possible risk factors as well as to learn how to properly assess and control the support procedure. OHSMS regulations require the employees of the airline sector to be ready for any hazard case scenario. They also require the personnel to be able to take all proper measures to eliminate the risk in any situation that could have an effect on health condition of people (Industry Standards and Regulations 2011).

2.2. Occupational health and safety.

When talking about a career challenge, people always imply being safe and sound at the workplace, which means absence of accidents and/or illnesses of any kind. Every employer is responsible for providing healthy working conditions to employees and should do everything required to form an outstanding organizational culture in terms of health and safety at the workplace (Occupational Health and Safety 2003).

Every company and/or organization should start its business from three simple steps: inspection, reporting, and accident research. These steps make it legitimate according to the Occupational Safety and Health Act that was passed in 1970. There are three factors that influence all aspects of work such as accident reconstruction, failure analysis and product liability, and the conception called - man, machine, and environment. All accidents and incidents should be considered in terms of the investigation process, situational analysis, technical reporting, and resource materials for all safety actions.

There are many programs in the world that take care of human safety at the workplace, among which there are preventive health programs that imply the wellness approach. The key principles include aeronautical, electrical, materials, mechanical, metallurgical, and computer engineering fields along with operational and human factors.

When something goes wrong, people need to evaluate the situation properly. That includes support services in litigation, service or product-liability of aviation, and analysis of the component-failure and aviation safety-defect as well as identification of quality-control problems, their evaluation, and steps to solve the issues (United States Department of Labour 2011). 

2.3. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).                                                                            

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was passed by the Congress to make sure that workers are safe at their workplace. The idea was to make employers do everything possible to provide their employees with a safe place of work, which would be protected from all possible hazards to health and safety (State Law Publisher 2007).

3. Definitions

  • Hazard: any situation at the workplace that could cause harm to people resulting in injury, illness, or death;
  • Risk:  the likelihood of hazard occurrence with the negative consequences such as injury or disease;
  • Risk management: the global process that evaluates any risk factors and takes measures to identify, analyze, and control the outcomes of risk or hazard;
  • Risk control: one of the parts of risk management that consists of the operation of rules and strategies, standard regulations, possible procedures, and physical changes that could be taken to reduce the risks (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola 2007).

4. Safety Management System (SMS)

The given safety management system is evaluated from the position of “commercial air transport operations” according to which safety management can be considered as the “system of management that is created to systemize the risks of the various operations with flights”, including the related “ground operations and aircraft engineering or maintenance activities to achieve high levels of safety performance” (Guide to a Safety Management System 2002).

The Safety Management System (SMS) is a “specific element of the corporate management responsibility” that defines the policy of the company and its overall operations of safety business. This system reflects different aspects of application such as financial management system, financial targets and budgets, and authority levels. The procedure is incorporated in the form of monitoring component that evaluates the performance and risk factors. Any accident in the aircraft industry is considered to be “an unexpected loss” that the vast majority of companies in the civil aviation industry desire to experience. It is clear that management of safety has a huge focus on the financial sector. Thus, the overall SMS comprises of the financial management system, quality management, and safety management that together create the core management system of the airline industry.

4.1. Hazard analysis.

In order to analyze the hazard, people need to evaluate all conditions of the particular case, event, object, or any possible circumstance that could have any effect on the accidental scenario of dangerous activities. There are four common hazards in aviation:

  • A nick in the propeller blade;
  • Improper refuelling of an aircraft;
  • Pilot fatigue;
  • Use of unapproved hardware on aircraft.

An efficient method of analysis of hazards can be created with the help of techniques of brainstorming and application of proper management records of accidents or incidents considering both internal and external sources. It is important to assess the risk for the company and undertake all measures to improve the procedures of proper equipment of the airline company (Enarsson 2006).

4.2. Hazard identification.

Identification of hazards could have an effect on people at their workplace. This implies the responsibility of all staff members to address physical health, including muscle-skeletal injuries, issues related to mental health such as extreme workload, conflicts at the workplace, bullying, and harassment. All the elements of hazard identification deal closely with the Health Centre OH&S Audits and Acts for the formal and informal identification of hazard and possible risk assessment that examines consultations with team members, environment issues, and analytical records of harm. The procedure is the following (State Law Publisher 2007):

  • Regularly check the workplace for hazards;
  • Consider the structure of the workplace: stairs, desks, floor surfaces, exits, driveways, housekeeping, machinery, appliances, and vehicles in terms of the injury records;
  • Identify the activities to carry out risk assessment for hazards activity.

4.3. Identifying safety hazards.

In the sphere of airline business, a hazard could be anything that has a relation to any damage, harm, or injury with negative implications. These include poor weather conditions, high landscape, FOD, absence of the emergency equipment, overload of the personnel, alcohol or drugs use on the plane. In view of this fact, it is always better to predict the hazard and overcome possible circumstances that could involve risk. The best way to learn how to manage hazards and risks effectively is the strategy to predict it with the help of six simple steps that are recommended to apply in case of any warning message (Enarsson 2006).

4.4. Six simple steps - an Early Warning Safety System:

  • Identify safety hazards by analyzing the operations that could cause harm;
  • Rank the likelihood and severity of such hazards;
  • Identify the existing controls to manage them;
  • Evaluate the efficiency of each control;
  • Identify additional control in case it is needed;
  • Record and monitor all the hazard information.

5. Risk management effectiveness

After possible hazard is identified, it is the time to apply the risk tackling procedure that could help eliminate the hazard in accordance with the airline policy standards. Risk assessment is managed with the help of OHSMS elements that help the safety management procedure to be taken seriously. It also allows to apply it with the regulations of all formal norms and assessments (Enarsson 2006).

5.1. Types of risk and risk assessment matrix.

  • Total risk - the combination of all the identified and non-identified risks;
  • Identified risk – any determined risk that was evaluated with different analysis techniques of safety management and practical solutions;
  • Unidentified risk – any unknown event that can take place unexpectedly;
  • Unacceptable risk – the risk activity that could be accepted and controlled;
  • Acceptable risk – this is a share of the acceptable risk that requires any potential management activity;
  • Residual risk - the risk that persists even after all the safety systems were implemented, which combines both acceptable risk and unidentified risks.

5.2. Risk assessment.

In order to determine the hazards, it is important to identify the steps that could help manipulate the overall airline safety procedure. These steps are three simple questions (Managing Safety Management 2000): 

  1. What is the likelihood that the hazard will cause harm to people?
  2. What is the worst damage the hazard could make for people in case the problem is not solved on time?
  3. How many people are subjected to the risk?

5.3. Risk assessment tools

The actions to save people are of the highest priority for the airline sector, and airline companies are aiming to protect lives of people from all possible hazards. This could be managed through eliminating risk factors and assessing the likelihood of possible damage or injury. The analysis of hazards along with risk assessment techniques makes the overall process unique in relation to the experience of people and processes of the Safety Management System. Such approach is aimed at high effectiveness and efficiency of risk management for the whole airline industry. The idea is to remember the meaning of the hazard and predict potential harm, damage, or injury to people.

5.4. Risk Assessment and mitigation steps.

In the view of the definition of the word “risk”, this term is used when people can be affected by the hazards that can cause them any possible harm. As a consequence, there are five significant steps people can take in order to prevent various risks by means of safety management system steps shown in the figure below (Risk Management Handbook 2009).

Figure 1: Safety Risk Management Graph.

Step 1: Identify the hazards where safe daily operations can cause harm to people;

Step 2: Think of what could be damaged or cause harm to people – identify possible risks;

Step 3: Evaluate the risks of the possible hazards in practice – examine the actions of risk;

Step 4: Record all the findings and assess them to protect the environment and people;

Step 5: Monitor efficiency of the plan to implement the solutions;

Step 6: Review assessment details and regularly update them.

5.5. Six risk control levels.

The possibility to control risk explains the ability to measure the harm that the hazard could cause to people. The idea is to predict the damage and minimize it where possible. This could be done with the help of the same elements of OHSMS that people can use to reduce risk factors or avoid the hazard altogether. There are several levels of comfort that are used to apply such steps in practice (Policy Document 2002):

Level 1: Eliminate the hazard - repair damages, use safely equipment, check it regularly;

Level 2: Swap the hazard with a harmless alternative such as less toxic chemical;

Level 3: Separate the hazard from people, limit the access to hazard cases;

Level 4: Take benefit from engineering controls with the help of guards if it is dangerous;

Level 5: Make use of administrative controls, reduce the workload and use safety tools;

Level 6: Take advantage of the personal protective clothing and equipment (PPCE).

6. Conclusions

6.1. Review / Monitor / Evaluate the results.       

Safety risk management is a combination of analysis, elimination, and tolerance that is aimed at proper management of hazards and risk factors in any work setting, especially in the airline industry. SMS could be effective only if companies constantly review, monitor, and evaluate the results in order to improve working conditions and protect people and equipment from operating risks and harm.

According to the history of the airline industry, accidents have a huge negative impact on the lives of people and, at the same time, on business itself. Safety risk management is a major element of SMS and it can work properly only if the two ultimate safety activities are involved: the ability to identify risks and hazards as well as the potential to assess the ways to reduce the outcomes of the possible damage or harm.

6.2. Three simple methods to make the airline risk management more effective.

In order to make risk management controls effective for the airline industry, companies should frequently review safety solutions and try to make them more effective to tackle hazards and control risks. There are three simple methods to make it such as:

  • Always talk to people, who are engaged in the records of injury and accident;
  • Search for advice from those people who were involved in the changes of the workplace in terms of risks and hazards; 
  • Reflect on personnel needs in training. Constantly communicate with employers, managers, and workers who are responsible for health and safety on the workplace.

In conclusion, this research presents the overview of the airline sector as a whole, the Safety Management System, and discusses practical solutions to positive outcomes of the hazard and risk situations. It is important to know the methods improvement of current trends and conditions towards the challenges of airline industry in the future (Safety Management Systems, 1998).

Safety management can make the aviation organizations worldwide to be the safest for travelling all over the world. The overall idea is to go beyond the assessment, risk management, operation efficiency, and professional skills and qualities of people. This approach will globally improve the airline industry in terms of professionalism and safety of  transportation (Safety Management 1998).

Order now

Related essays