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Australia’s transport industries are some of the safest in the world but more can be done to improve safety, according to the ATSB’s annual report.

Approved for tabling by the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Warren Truss, the annual report highlights the ATSB’s top transport safety concerns across the aviation, maritime and rail industries.

ATSB Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said the safety concerns bring together the ATSB’s investigation findings and analysis of the safety occurrence data reported by industry.

“We are urging industry to give heightened attention to the risk areas identified by the ATSB,” Mr Dolan said. “While we are seeing improvements in certain areas of transport safety, other risk areas remain a concern to the ATSB. We’ll continue to closely monitor these transport safety hotspots over the coming year.”

One of the year’s notable transport safety achievements was the nation-wide fit out of the bladder-type fuel tank on all Robinson R44 helicopters (in accordance with the manufacturer’s directive). The bladder tank replaced the rigid aluminium fuel tank that was highly susceptible to post-impact fires. 

The ATSB’s growing concern about accidents caused by flying with reduced visual references, such as in cloud or at night, has led to that matter being included as a top transport safety risk area identified in the ATSB’s safety priorities.

“We’ve moved to address concerns about the increasing number of accidents caused by flying with reduced visual references,” Mr Dolan said. “By highlighting these priorities to visual flight rules pilots, we aim to make them more aware of the risks and of what can be done to avoid what can be catastrophic mistakes while flying.”

Three significant investigations into flying with reduced visual cues are included in the annual report, along with features on some of the 217 investigations conducted by the ATSB in 2013–14.

The annual report also details the ATSB’s involvement as the lead organisation in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared in March 2014. “Finding the missing aircraft and helping solve the mystery of its disappearance is our greatest challenge. Just as importantly, though, we continue our work to improve safety through investigating aviation, maritime and rail incidents at home,” Mr Dolan said.

Australia’s current top transport safety priorities across aviation, maritime and rail (SafetyWatch):

  1. Flying with reduced visual cues
  2. Marine work practices
  3. Safe work on rail
  4. Data input areas for aviation
  5. Safety around non-controlled aerodromes
  6. General aviation pilot risks
  7. Maritime pilotage
  8. Under reporting of occurrences
  9. Handling approach to land

More information on these risk areas can be found at the ATSB’s SafetyWatch web page www.atsb.gov.au/safetywatch


Download: ATSB Annual report 2013-14



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Last update 26 June 2017