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Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201300053
Date reported 05 July 2013
Concern title Continuation of cabin crew service when the seat belt sign is on
Concern summary

The concern related to the operator's procedure that cabin crew continue service while the seat belt sign is on and the aircraft is encountering turbulence.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Cabin safety

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern regarding the continuation of cabin crew service in flight while the fasten seat belt (FSB) sign is illuminated during turbulent conditions.

The reporter is concerned that the serving of hot beverages during turbulence is unsafe for both passengers and cabin crew and may result in significant injuries. The reporter has witnessed first-hand hot drinks being poured and spilt while the FSB sign was on.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

In response to REPCON AR201300053, the severity of the turbulence determines the course of action. The turbulence matrix states that during all turbulent events Cabin Crew discontinue hot drink service; there is no requirement for the discontinuation of service or to be seated, unless instructed to do so by the Captain / Cabin Supervisor in a Light turbulent event. Cabin Crew are empowered to be seated at any time they feel their safety is at risk.

During a Moderate or Severe turbulent event the Matrix states that the Cabin Crew are to discontinue Cabin Service and re-stow carts, if it is safe to do so.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the content of this REPCON and advises the matter is being followed up with the operator and will take action as appropriate.


ATSB comment

REPCON received further comments from the reporter on this matter and the text below was sent to CASA for comment.

The 'matrix' seems to make a simple CAO into a complex issue.

The matrix suggests that it is safe in turbulence to have the cabin crew up and about with their trolleys, while the passengers are restrained and the Fasten Sear Belt Sign is on.

This is not applying the CAO correctly. Further, there are two potential "judgers" as to when cabin crew are to be seated. One is the Captain and the other is the cabin manager. Both will have different perceptions of when flight attendants are to be seated.

I do not believe the CAO in question is being applied correctly.

Regulator's response (Regulator 2)

I am advised that CASA has quarterly Cabin Safety review meetings with the operator. At the next meeting CASA will review the Operator's Seat Belt procedure collaboratively to ensure it meets CASA's regulatory requirements to provide an effective safety outcome.

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Last update 24 March 2014