Recommendation R20070002

Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: R20070002
Date issued: 04 April 2007
Safety action status: Closed - Action Taken
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

Safety Issue

CASA did not provide sufficient guidance to its inspectors to enable them to effectively and consistently evaluate several key aspects of operator management systems. These aspects included evaluating organisational structure and staff resources, evaluating the suitability of key personnel, evaluating organisational change, and evaluating risk management processes.

Safety Recommendation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority undertake further work to address this safety issue.

Initial response
Date issued: 23 November 2006
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action status: Open
Response text:

We have been addressing a clear requirement to enhance CASA's 'frontline' surveillance workforce capability. The need to assess the safety related decisions taken by industry management meant we needed people with management or safety management expertise and experience to support those with technical experience as a pilot or engineer. This requirement was enhanced by the increasing use of safety management systems (SMS) in aviation worldwide and the impending mandating of SMS for Australian aviation. CASA deployed its first safety system specialists in mid 2006, a capability that will have a particular focus on assessing regional airline safety management capability.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 23 March 2007
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Open
Response text:

CASA has, and continues to provide substantial guidance material in all aspects of surveillance. Inspectors are highly experienced and call upon professional judgement in assessing effectiveness of operators. Inspectors are recruited on the basis of this experience and professional judgement and are required to carry out their duties in accordance with surveillance guidance material provided by CASA.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB acknowledges CASA's actions to recruit safety systems specialists and the importance of professional judgement in performing regulatory oversight. However, the ATSB still believes that guidance material provided to CASA inspectors was and is inadequate.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 01 June 2007
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Monitor
Response text:

Whilst CASA acknowledges the thrust of this recommendation, CASA does not accept the underlying premise that CASA inspectors had insufficient guidance to fulfil their responsibilities. Furthermore CASA does not support the categorisation of this recommendation as a contributing safety factor at paragraph 3.2.4.
CASA currently has a major project underway to improve oversight of the aviation industry

In 2006, CASA created a new capability to evaluate industry management systems, employing three Safety Systems Specialists.

These specialists have a different skill set to that of the existing spectors and auditors employed byCASA. CASA sought and obtained additional funding from the government and it is envisaged that a further nine Safety Systems Specialists will be employed by the end of 2007.

The Safety Systems Specialists will write guidance and procedures for CASA staff whose responsibilities include evaluating management systems, to ensure effectiveness and consistency.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB defines a safety issue as a safety factor that (a) can reasonably be regarded as having the potential to adversely affect the safety of future operations, and (b) is a characteristic of an organisation or a system, rather than a characteristic of a specific individual, or characteristic of an operational environment at a specific point in time. As such, the classification of the safety issue as a contributing safety factor is irrelevant in terms of safety action.

The ATSB notes CASA's intention to employ a further nine Safety System Specialists by the end of 2007 and that these specialists will write guidance and procedures for CASA staff whose responsibilities include evaluating management systems, to ensure effectiveness and consistency. Accordingly, the ATSB has amended the status of this recommendation to ' Monitor'.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 08 October 2008
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Closed - Accepted
Response text:

The Safety System Specialists continue to provide guidance and development of staff in evaluating management systems. While the SSS are primarily concerned with the methods and guidance, CASA and ATOG in particular now has another type of Inspector - the Air Transport Inspector, and the primary role of these new assets is to provide the safety management perspective to CASA Surveillance and audit teams. There are currently 8 Air Transport Inspectors and these numbers are to be increased shortly. They are spread throughout the field offices but the resources are not geographically restrained and work with permissions holders as required on a risk basis. The ATIs work closely with and are developed and guided by the SSS.

There is now a Safety Systems Specialist in each Air Transport Field Office as well as Safety Systems Specialist in the strategy roles in CASA's Air Transport Operations Group. All Safety Systems Specialist and Air Transport Inspectors meet on a regular basis for standardisation and to work together in developing further guidance material. The Industry Oversight Project is providing tools for Safety Systems assessment which include specific guidance for each assessable item, down to the level of word pictures to qualify the assessment of the system controls in place. The tool is being developed as an integrated part of the safety performance verification tools and is closely tied to the Regulatory development of Part 119 that is taking place concurrently.

Last update 05 April 2012