ATSB releases safety priorities

The ATSB has released its updated list of the most pressing safety issues in Australian rail, marine and aviation transport.

SafetyWatch: ATSB's list of the most pressing transport safety issues

Each year, the ATSB publishes SafetyWatch, its list of safety priorities across the marine, rail and aviation modes.

These priorities are identified from investigation findings and from the thousands of safety notifications received by the ATSB each year.

ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood urged the transport industry to give heightened attention to the risk areas identified in this release.

“Of concern are the areas of safety priority that have had to be carried over from last year’s list,” said Mr Hood.

“As the national transport safety investigator for aviation, marine and rail, the ATSB is uniquely positioned to identify significant safety issues—and, all too often, we are seeing the same safety issues arising again and again.”

In addition to modified or expanded priorities, this year’s list has identified two new areas of concern. The first is an issue that affects safety in all modes of transport: fatigue.

Mr Hood said experiencing fatigue and its effects on performance is an area of concern not managed consistently across the transport industry.

“Everyone has experienced fatigue at some point, but in the transport industry, where there’s often high pressure to deliver on-time services, fatigue can have very real, and potentially dangerous implications,” Mr Hood said.

“Fatigue can have a range of adverse influences on human performance, such as slowed reaction time, decreased work efficiency, reduced motivational drive, and increased variability in work performance.”

The second new issue to make the SafetyWatch list is based on a relatively new and increasingly popular technology: remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly known as drones.

“The number of RPAS in Australia has increased exponentially,” said Mr Hood, “and, with it, the number of near-encounters with manned aircraft has also increased. Thankfully, there have been no reported collisions in Australia to date, but we are working to manage any potential risks through our research and education.”

Through the SafetyWatch initiative, the ATSB provides information about each safety concern, as well as strategies to help manage risk areas, and links to safety resources. 

SafetyWatch is designed to improve the transport community’s awareness of these safety priorities,” Mr Hood said. “I urge industry to take the time to look over what we’ve found, in the interest of improving transport safety.”

Last update 23 October 2017