February 22, 2007
Pilots Support Bill to Enhance Safety Culture
at Canadian Airlines
Non-punitive, confidential safety reporting programs essential to success
Ottawa – Capt. Dan Adamus, president of the Canada Board of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement supporting Bill C-6, currently under consideration by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. If passed, the bill would put “Safety Management Systems” in place throughout the Canadian aviation industry.
“Putting ‘Safety Management Systems’ in place at aviation companies regulated and certified by Transport Canada would be an extremely promising step forward in safeguarding Canada’s passengers, crew, and cargo. If it is passed, Bill C-6 would set the stage for a quantum leap in safety that will help detect safety threats long before accidents occur. ALPA strongly urges the Parliament to pass this important legislation.
“The proposal before the House of Commons Committee contains each of the building blocks for success in creating a more robust safety culture at Canadian airlines. The proposal clearly establishes accountability for safety at the highest levels within a company; provides for the reporting of safety occurrences and information without fear of retribution; and also requires employee involvement and a formal risk assessment and decision-making process when hazards are identified.
“Equally important, the bill includes non-punitive and confidential safety programs as a foundation for heading off safety risks before incidents or accidents occur. In the past, the aviation industry has had to wait for an accident or incident to improve safety. Canada and the U.S. have approached aviation safety in this way for more than 70 years, and it has helped to create an air transportation safety record that is unsurpassed in the world.
“Now, rather than depending on increasingly rare airline accidents to identify safety risks, our industry needs a proactive approach to identifying hazards before accidents occur. Safety data must be collected within a safety-centered and non-punitive culture where pilots and other aviation employees feel comfortable reporting emerging risks.
“Additionally, as the science of ‘human factors’ becomes more robust, it is essential to go beyond simply citing ‘human error’ as the cause of missteps, we must look at the ‘why’ behind it, whether it is training, experience, knowledge, or inadequacy of procedures. ALPA maintains unequivocally that a non-punitive, confidential safety reporting program is essential, especially when it comes to identifying and responding to human factors issues.
“However, regardless of whether this bill passes, ALPA maintains that the minister remains responsible, through inspectors, for providing comprehensive safety oversight of the Canadian aviation industry.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 60,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the Canada and the U.S. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: Capt. Dan Adamus, 613-569-5668