The operator's documented procedure for company personnel to report accidents and incidents was in itself not sufficient to ensure that occurrences that had affected, or had the potential to affect safety, were reported to management. This decreased the opportunity for the operator to identify potential operational risks and take appropriate action to minimise them.
It appears that the operator is implementing structured change to operational processes. These changes are reportedly being embraced by operational personnel and supported by senior management.
On 9 August 2017, Rebel Ag Pty. Ltd. provided the following proactive safety action in regards to their reporting system:
The mixing team have reflected that at the time of the accident there were feelings of discomfort and uncertainty of responsibility of reporting concerns about more experienced colleagues. This has been addressed both individually in private meetings between the Chief Pilot and the ground crew at our internal safety meetings. All of the ground crew have assured management that they are confident and happy to report any feelings of discomfort with behaviour /risks seen to be taken by a staff member irrespective of seniority.
Our reporting culture is relative to the team culture change that has taken place at Rebel Ag. Reporting through the correct chain of command for minor and larger scale risks is being driven by the Chief Pilot and safety officer, demonstrating to the mixing team open communication pathways to report risks/incidents in a private and supportive manner.
We believe the core substance of our induction process is to a high standard and deliverance is what needs to be addressed. As a team we have identified that we need to improve, demonstrating to new employees and contractors our vision and safety culture here at Rebel Ag. Our current induction process, will be more driven and supported by the Chief Pilot, to ensure all pilots are inducted to expected standards and documented accordingly.
In moving forward, the Chief Pilot will be supported in his role with a Deputy Chief Pilot, who will undertake this role in the next few months.
The ATSB is satisfied that Rebel Ag Pty Ltd has identified deficiencies within its operation and has commenced implementing change to improve safety culture and safety systems.