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Safety Reporting Systems at Airports (2014)

Chapter: Chapter Eight - Conclusions

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Eight - Conclusions ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Safety Reporting Systems at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22353.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Eight - Conclusions ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Safety Reporting Systems at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22353.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Eight - Conclusions ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Safety Reporting Systems at Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22353.
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42 The literature review and interviews provided information that has been presented in various formats within this synthesis study report. Airport representatives offered their insights and described their pro- cesses of collecting, managing, and reporting both mandatory and voluntary safety data at their airports. As a means to conclude the interviews, airport respondents were asked to state their most significant benefit and most significant challenge relating to safety data management. A summary of these responses is presented here, and specified respondent comments are included in Appendix A, Tables A5 and A6. MOST SIGNIFICANT BENEFIT Airport staff surveyed appears to agree that benefits do exist in data collection and management. Interviewees reported that higher awareness as a result of data collection and trending could lead to better safety management oversight and prevention. In addition, the ability to plan ahead or be proactive with regard to data analysis could assist with preventing incidents and accidents. Deci- sions based on better data could lead to better quality results and outcomes, including hazard and accident prevention. Respondents also reported that data management helps accurately reflect current operations and safety concerns, and that the ability to analyze trends provides a higher level of safety awareness and improves overall safety culture, including hazard prevention. Reducing accidents and incidents through safety data was also reported as means to forecast and implement preventive measures and controls. Detailed comments from interviewees can be found in Appendix A, Table A5. MOST SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE Airport representatives were also asked to provide the most significant challenge regarding safety data collection and management. Challenges included: • Getting staff and tenants to report; • Having access to tenant data without a national mandate and protection from disclosure; • Establishing the safety reporting culture; • Maintaining the quality, consistency, and accuracy of data reported requires that airports shoulder the burden of sorting through useless data; • Not having an electronic system and the effort needed to acquire funding; • The effort of managing the system once it is in place, from a staffing and labor hour perspective; • Data trending once the information is in place; • Knowing what to track when there is such a large volume of data collected; and • Managing the manual process until an electronic system is in place. Detailed comments from interviewees can be found in Appendix A, Table A6. FINAL INTERVIEWEE COMMENTS At the conclusion of the survey, respondents were asked if they had any final comments or statement they wished to be included in the synthesis study report. Table A7 in Appendix A provides a list of the comments by airport hub size. Note that respondents’ discussion of additional challenges in response chapter eight CONCLUSIONS Data collection and trending assist in forecasting potential hazards and mitigating them before accidents and incidents occur. Data collection challenges range from concerns regarding data quality to management oversight and ability to select the right data to collect and trend.

43 to final comments or statements were not aggregated with the information collected in Table A6 because the focus of that question was on the “most significant” challenges. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS A summary of the findings from the airport representatives surveyed and the associated study is presented here: I. Internal airport use of safety data a. Of the 35 airports surveyed, 60% had established a voluntary reporting program either with or without the formal implementation of a safety management system (SMS). b. Multiple means, methods, formats, and processes are used at airports to receive safety con- cerns from all stakeholders, specifically staff and tenants. Although the same infrastructure exists for mandatory and voluntary reporting (phone lines, safety meetings, etc.), voluntary and mandatory data typically are reported through different systems or software programs. c. Paper-based systems are the method most frequently used to collect and report on Part 139 self-inspection data. d. Software programs, regardless of airport size, are rarely integrated across departments and/or functions. Manual reconciliation is often required to analyze and trend safety concerns. e. Airport staff members are skilled at assessment and deployment of safety response based on the type of safety report received. Strong coordination exists among responding depart- ments to resolve safety problems. f. Follow-through on safety concerns is infrequently documented in a single repository or program; multiple silos of safety reports exist in departments such as operations, police, and fire. As a result, airport management has limited holistic understanding of the number, type, and resolution of safety concerns. g. Informal methods are most often used to identify mitigations or solutions to safety issues. h. Data collected through existing programs can serve as a foundation for future integrated safety-related reporting and management. i. The value of data trending and performance measurements goes beyond safety; it contrib- utes to airport management’s overall business decisions. j. Even for airports with formal SMS programs in place, few have dedicated staff assigned to safety data management and oversight. II. Collective state, regional, or multiairport management sharing and reporting of safety information a. Few airport management staff report outside of the airport to other agencies; typical chal- lenges include lack of requested data, the need to manually compile the data, and the abil- ity to compile specific data from numerous departments. b. For state-managed airports, interviewees indicated that most of their external reporting related to budget planning and staffing and was not safety-related. c. In addition, at state-managed airports, respondents replied that Part 139 reporting typically resides with each airport’s management oversight, not at a centralized state-managed office. III. External airport safety data reporting to agencies a. All airports within the survey report to agencies such as FAA, NTSB, and health and safety organizations, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). b. Many airport interviewees reported that they or their wildlife management teams used the national FAA Wildlife Strike Database to log wildlife strike reports. c. Airports surveyed stated that, with regard to outside agencies, they often report to aca- demic and industry agencies, such as universities, and technical or management surveys for the ACRP, ACI-NA, and AAAE. ADDITIONAL RESEARCH PROPOSED The importance of mandatory and voluntary reporting programs within the realm of safety management was highlighted as part of this report. With no clear regula- tory path identified to protect safety data at U.S. airports and the mandate as part of ICAO’s Annex 19 for member states to establish both voluntary and mandatory Continuing to assess safety data programs as part of future research activities would benefit the aviation community.

44 safety collection programs, additional research and analysis are suggested to aid airports and the aviation industry in defining a means to implement a compliant, usable, and beneficial safety data reporting program. Additional research is suggested to study increases in voluntary data collection at U.S. airports, either as a result of SMS program implementation or through safety data collection initiatives. An aspect of this proposed future research would be to investigate whether airports are analyzing vol- untary data, and if they are trending data, whether they have used the information to proactively implement new safety measures, programs, or controls. Another area of future research would include means for airport operators and managers to com- pile and analyze safety indicators, including sources and opportunities to share the data and, most importantly, ways to assess the data statistically to support safety initiatives and as an overall airport management tool. One of the most practical future research activities would be to investigate how airport depart- ments might consolidate and share the multiple types of reports and activities from various sources and databases to maximize usefulness.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 58: Safety Reporting Systems at Airports describes safety reporting methods and systems for airports certificated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139 by assessing current practices, processes, and systems used to collect and analyze safety data and information.

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