May 21, 2009 | Ken Reed

Airline Safety and the Human Element

This week, the CEO’s from a number of regional airlines held their annual Regional Airline Association meeting in Salt Lake City.  The Colgan Air commuter plane crash in Buffalo earlier this year was obviously a major focus.   A lot of
attention has been brought to bear on both the fatigue and training level of the
cockpit crew.  During the RAA meeting, the RAA president noted that industry personnel “have become too reliant on advanced technologies, and that they may need to focus more on human factors.”  He further observed, “We need to consider the
psychological factors. Why do highly trained professionals fail to
follow their training and experience when faced with unusual
situations?”   Check out the article here.

John Nance, an airline industry safety expert and a key-note speaker at our 2007 TapRooT® Summit, noted at the same meeting that it is “necessary to test all assumptions all the time. . .it’s time to ramp up.”

These are great observations.  Accident investigations often seem to focus on just blaming the flight crew or mechanics.  I’m sure that the Colgan Air pilot was trying to make the right decisions.  The problem lies in finding a way to understand the rationale behind people’s decision-making.  An effective root cause analysis system like TapRooT® will allow the investigators to focus on the real reasons that people make bad decisions.

The 2-Day TapRooT® Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis course will give you the basic tools you need to determine why people make the decisions they make.  For even more comprehensive information on how to understand the psychology behind decision-making, and how to make our people want to make good decisions, attend a 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Team Leader Training course.  Check out our course schedules here.

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