October 29, 2014
One of the most common themes for Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) Reports submitted from Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) involve time constraints and pressure. It is not always a supervisor standing over us saying, "get the job done now," sometimes we as technicians put the pressure on ourselves. We need to realize this concept and correct the problem where it exists. This is where the idea of safety over schedule comes in to play.
The job we are hired for is to inspect, service, and repair the aircraft and then send it back in airworthy condition. We are the only ones that can deem the aircraft airworthy. We cannot base our work on aircraft schedules. The company is always trying to keep to their schedule, and that is what they should try to do however, we have no control over tooling, parts, arrival times of aircraft in the case of overnight work, or other unforeseen circumstances. Our job is to do the work according to the manuals, and return an airworthy product. If the aircraft is not finished, the work will have to be rescheduled, cancelled, or it will just have to wait until the correct procedures are accomplished. Do not rush, something as simple as paperwork not filled out correctly can get you a Letter of Investigation (LOI).
In the case of an accident, there is more financial benefit to the company to adhere to the policy of safety over schedule. It is also more beneficial to the AMT to prevent themselves from being hurt, receiving an LOI, possibly losing your job or worse. Of course, without being said it is always beneficial to our passengers.
Do we need another ASA Flight 261 to become safer? We all must take safety serious and be proactive instead of reactive, and this includes the company. Make sure you do things correctly, not quickly, and make sure you do the right thing even when no one is watching. You will never receive punishment for taking a delay on a turn or an originator if you are doing maintenance according to the correct procedure.
Another of the top human factors causes of incidents are not using or reading technical publications and culture as affected by leadership. We have addressed the former in past articles, but it serves to remind us that we need to check the proper manuals each time we perform maintenance and be aware of updates, read and sign, and make sure we have the newest revisions at all times. The latter is also a concept that we have discussed in the past. Our culture needs to change, not only ours, but also leadership’s. How can we assist them in changing their culture? We need to reinforce our newly changed culture with each other, and if questioned relay this to management. We have done this last month in meetings with the companies, explaining this concept with our Safety Initiative. If you have not heard of this presentation, contact your local President or Safety and Standards Chairmen.
With all this being said, be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to safety, and have all these concepts in your thoughts as you conduct maintenance. Familiarize yourself with our new Safety Initiative and we will all be more efficient and safe in our jobs as professional AMTs.
David A. Brooks
National Safety & Standards Director