"Reducing Aviation Incidents Learning from Near-Miss Events"
Pollys Aviation blog

Reducing Aviation Incidents
Learning from Near-Miss Events
By Polly Thomson

"Learning from Near-Miss Events: Enhancing Aviation Safety and Reducing Incidents", Polly says

Reducing aviation incidents through near-miss event analysis is a proactive approach to enhancing safety in the aviation industry. 

By learning from these events and implementing necessary changes, aviation professionals and authorities can work together to minimize the risk of accidents and ensure the continued safety of air travel.

Near Miss

NEAR MISS is an event in which an occurrence to be mandatorily reported according to Regulation (EU) No 376/2014 was narrowly averted or avoided. 

Example: A mechanic on rechecking his or her work at the end of a task realises that one work card step was not properly carried out.

Reducing aviation incidents by learning from near-miss events is a crucial aspect of ensuring the safety and efficiency of air travel. 

Near-miss events, which refer to incidents where an accident almost occurred but was narrowly avoided, offer valuable insights and opportunities for improvement in aviation safety. 

Here's how this process works:

Reporting Culture

Establishing a strong reporting culture within the aviation industry is essential. 

Pilots, air traffic controllers, maintenance crews, and other aviation professionals must feel comfortable reporting near-miss events without fear of reprisal. 

Encouraging open and honest reporting is the first step in identifying potential issues.

A reporting culture in aviation refers to the organizational environment and practices that encourage and facilitate the reporting of safety-related incidents, hazards, and near-miss events by aviation professionals, including pilots, maintenance personnel, air traffic controllers, and others. It is a critical component of aviation safety management systems (SMS) and plays a significant role in preventing accidents and incidents.

In a robust reporting culture:

Open Communication: Employees feel comfortable reporting incidents without fear of reprisal. They trust that their reports will be treated confidentially and with fairness.

Non-Punitive Approach: Organizations prioritize learning and improvement over blame and punishment. The focus is on identifying root causes and addressing underlying issues rather than assigning blame to individuals.

Feedback Loop: There is a feedback mechanism that keeps employees informed about the actions taken in response to their reports. This transparency reinforces the value of reporting.

Continuous Improvement: Data from reported incidents is used to identify trends, assess risks, and implement proactive safety measures. Lessons learned from near misses are applied to prevent actual accidents.

Safety Culture: A reporting culture is a fundamental aspect of a broader safety culture within aviation organizations. It aligns with safety values, norms, and practices.

Overall, a strong reporting culture empowers aviation professionals to contribute to safety by reporting incidents and near misses, which, in turn, helps organizations make data-driven decisions to reduce aviation incidents and improve safety standards.

Data Collection

Near-miss events are recorded and analyzed to gather detailed data. This information includes the specifics of the event, such as location, time, weather conditions, aircraft involved, and actions taken by the crew.

Root Cause Analysis

Aviation experts and investigators conduct a thorough root cause analysis to determine why the near-miss event occurred. This involves identifying contributing factors, human errors, equipment malfunctions, or other issues that could have led to an accident.

Risk Assessment

Once the root causes are identified, a risk assessment is performed to determine the severity and likelihood of a similar incident happening in the future. This step helps prioritize which issues require immediate attention.

Mitigation Strategies

Based on the findings of the analysis and risk assessment, aviation authorities and organizations develop mitigation strategies. These strategies can include changes to procedures, training programs, equipment upgrades, or regulatory changes.

Training and Awareness

Aviation professionals receive training and awareness programs to educate them about the lessons learned from near-miss events. This helps prevent similar incidents in the future by enhancing their situational awareness and decision-making skills.

Continuous Improvement: The aviation industry continually monitors its safety performance and looks for opportunities to improve. Near-miss events provide valuable data for enhancing safety standards, procedures, and technologies.

Regulatory Changes

Near-miss events can lead to changes in aviation regulations and standards. Aviation authorities often revise rules to address the root causes of near misses and enhance safety across the industry.

Information Sharing

The aviation community places a strong emphasis on sharing information about near-miss events and the lessons learned. This fosters a collaborative environment where best practices are disseminated widely.

Technology Advancements

Near-miss events can also drive advancements in aviation technology. For example, the development of improved navigation systems, collision avoidance technologies, and cockpit safety features has been influenced by lessons learned from past incidents.

Polly Thomson - September 2023

STEIA AVIATION - Specialized Safety Promoter

eMAIL : polly.steiaviation@gmail.com