23 January 2013
ALPA: Confidential Safety Reporting Programs Essential to Aviation Safety
OTTAWA – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA)—the world’s largest nongovernmental aviation safety organization—issued the following response to CBC TV’s program “Power & Politics with Evan Solomon” that aired on 22 January.
“Safety Management Systems (SMS) are a valuable tool to enhance safety in aviation and other transportation industries in Canada. SMS aid airlines by helping to identify and mitigate safety risks that have not been anticipated by regulators. As a result, SMS programs are critical to ensuring the highest safety standards are maintained and to providing a continuous means of identifying hazards before they become serious.
“Equally important is the concept that nonpunitive and confidential safety programs remain a foundation for heading off safety risks before incidents or accidents occur.
“ALPA maintains unequivocally that a nonpunitive, confidential safety reporting program is essential, especially when it comes to identifying and responding to human factors issues.
“Canada is a world leader in adopting SMS programs in its marine, rail, and aviation industries. SMS programs ensure continuing safety by combining the appropriate levels of incentive for front-line employee reporting, internal auditing and regulatory oversight.
“When Transport Canada or the airlines consider releasing any Transport Audit to the public, they must ensure that any confidential reporting referenced or used as the basis of that audit remain strictly confidential. This is absolutely essential as the confidentiality of information given in a SMS is the very backbone that ensures its authenticity and timeliness.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 51,000 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the 2,800 Canadian flight crewmembers who fly for Air Transat, Bearskin, Calm Air, Canadian North, CanJet, First Air, Jazz Aviation, Kelowna Flightcraft, and Wasaya. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
Capt. Dan Adamus, ALPA Canada Board, 613/293-0882, Dan.Adamus@alpa.org