The lack of ‘Just Culture’ for pilots and air traffic controllers (ATCs) was identified as a major risk to aviation safety at last month’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Sector Risk Workshop.
‘Just Culture’ is the process of openly reporting mistakes or omissions without fear of subsequent punishment, sanction or job loss, provided the act or omission was not an intentional act. It is not currently mandated under New Zealand law.
“We support ‘Just Culture’ in New Zealand as a way of encouraging reporting without fear of prosecution, as a way of preventing accidents happening in the future,” NZALPA Senior Technical Officer David Reynolds said.
“Encouraging pilots and ATC officers to openly report and discuss mistakes will result in more progressive and proactive safety measures and is an essential part of any Safety Management System (SMS).”
Some airlines in New Zealand, including Air New Zealand, already have ‘Just Culture’ reporting systems within their policies and procedures.
However, this is not so in all sectors. The General Aviation (GA) sector is one in particular in which there are serious challenges. In one of the most vulnerable sectors in New Zealand aviation, there continues to be a lack of a ‘Just Culture’ and it remains one of the greatest barriers to improving poor accident rates.
“A ‘Just Culture’ is something that CAA Director Graham Harris has said has huge benefits for aviation safety in New Zealand,” Reynolds said.
“In the UK and US, they successfully run ‘Just Culture’ regimes; NZALPA hopes to work with the CAA and to encourage its formal introduction in New Zealand.
“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to implement ‘Just Culture’ in the GA sector.”
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