Recommendation R20040042

Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: R20040042
Date issued: 18 March 2004
Safety action status:
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

Safety Recommendation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority review their Safety Trend Indicator process, including with a view to developing a methodology to assist in objectively assessing potential at-risk organisations. That should include formal 'triggers' that enable the consistent prediction of the requirement for additional surveillance until CASR Part 119 takes full effect.

Initial response
Date issued: 28 May 2004
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action status: Closed - Partially Accepted
Response text:

CASA response

As noted in the Authority's response of 6 February 2004, the STI is used in conjunction with industry intelligence and other resources, as a management tool to assist Aviation Safety Compliance staff determine the planning and scope of surveillance activities.

However, the Bureau's report appears to inappropriately assume that the STI is a direct measure of a company's safety, rather than a means of prioritising resources to gain information by means of an on-site audit.

The STI does not record the presence of regulatory breaches or other hazards that must be corrected. Rather, it collects information on factors that suggest the greater likelihood of such hazards being present. For example, the fact that a company has recently made changes to its organisational structure does not in itself imply a decrease in safety. In fact some changes may have been implemented to correct previously identified deficiencies.

Nevertheless, the introduction of a new organisational structure does increase the likelihood that there could be disruptions to existing safety systems or see new, untested, systems introduced. For this reason, the STI is used not to identify specific problems but rather to prioritise companies for audits. In other words, companies that have relatively high STI scores should receive more frequent audits than other companies.

CASA is currently progressing with the implementation of Mark 2 of the STI. However, this remains but one tool within a suite of safety management strategies used by CASA.

In order to reduce the safety risks associated with flight operations and related ground operations, CASA is currently introducing a Safety Management Systems (SMS) approach for passenger carrying operations. The new regulations will mandate the implementation of a SMS and AOC holders will be transitioned to the new regulatory requirements through a case management process. Training sessions on SMS have already commenced and are attended by CASA officers and industry personnel.

In addition, CASA's new surveillance procedures direct inspectors to conduct safety auditing using the systems approach. The main areas of significant change initiated recently include:

thorough pre-audit preparation and consideration given to safety intelligence, audit objectives and targeted scooping;
recording and reporting of findings; and
follow-up and planning of subsequent action.

The Authority's systems approach and application of risk management methods places greater emphasis on the notion of 'shared responsibility' between the regulator and operator for safe operations.

Last update 01 April 2011