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Safety Action

Summary

As a result of this ocurrence, the aircraft operator updated the Flight Spoiler System Engineering Release to ensure the continued integrity of B737 spoiler cables. In addition, the operator subsequently reviewed the duty time limitations for maintenance personnel and issued guidance material indicating that duty times be limited to a maximum of 16 hours in any 24 hour period.

In February 2001, The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released an Air Safety Information Paper titled "ATSB Survey of Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers in Australia" One of the safety deficiencies identified during the survey was a "current lack of programs to limit the extent of fatigue experienced by maintenance workers". As a result of that deficiency, the ATSB issued the following safety recommendation to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA):

R20010033 issued February 2001

"The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that CASA ensures through hours of duty limits, or other means, that maintenance organisations manage work schedules of staff in a manner that reduces the likelihood of those staff suffering from excessive levels of fatigue while on duty."

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority responded to the safety recommendation on 31 August 2001. That response stated:

"Given that "fatigue was listed as a contributing factor in just over 12% of occurrences", CASA believes that there is clearly a need for the appropriate regulation of this issue.

CASA has addressed the issue of hours of duty rules and fatigue management in relation to aircraft maintenance engineers in the proposed Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 43 -Maintainers Responsibilities and Part 145 - Approved Maintenance Organisations, (CASR Part 43 and CASR Part 145).

Draft regulations for CASR Part 43 were released as a Discussion Paper for public comment on 22 February 2001. A working draft of the proposed regulations for CASR Part 145 was released for public comment on 5 July 2001.

Proposed sub-regulation 145.190 requires an approved maintenance organisation to ensure that each maintenance worker takes enough rest as specified in CASR Part 43.

Proposed sub-regulation 43.400 (2) specifies the following in relation to an appropriate work schedule for a maintenance worker:

At least 1 period of 24 hours of complete rest away from the workplace in any period of seven days; and

At least 10 hours of complete rest away from the workplace in any day.

Proposed sub-regulation 43.400 (3) provides that a maintenance worker must not continue for so long a period that the worker's capacity to carry out the work becomes significantly impaired.

I would like to note that the Authority has recently established a Fatigue Management Committee to review fatigue risk management issues, fatigue standards development and implementation.

As part of this review, the Committee will be asked to review the fatigue regulations contained in CASR Parts 43 and 145, for consistency against CASA's fatigue management approach.

CASA anticipates that following consideration and, if appropriate, incorporation of comments received from interested parties, including the Fatigue Management Committee, CASR Parts 43 and Part 145 will be released as Notices of Proposed Rule Makings for public comment later this year."

ATSB response status: CLOSED-ACCEPTED.

 
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