Managing fatigue in aviation maintenance while promoting a human factors safety reporting system; a strategic approach to aviation safety
Authors: Mark Miller, Bettina Mrusek, Jeff Herbic
Abstract: The potential rise of fatigue in commercial aviation maintenance due to Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) personnel shortages supports a Human Factors (HF) Fatigue Risk Management (FRM) System be introduced in all major aviation maintenance programs in the US to complement a maintenance HF Safety Reporting System. The researchers have been strong advocates of a maintenance HF Safety Reporting System that can detect aviation maintenance procedural errors as research points to upwards of 38% of the aviation maintenance related accidents in Part 121 operations are caused by some form of maintenance procedural errors. However, as anonymous safety reporting tools like the HF REPAIRER (Miller and Mrusek, 2018) do hold promise for aviation maintenance safety and are also supported by Safety Management Systems (SMS), what is the point of having them if the maintainers are too tired and exhausted both mentally and physically to use such HF Safety Reporting Systems? The researchers take into consideration that the global (COVID-19) pandemic did bring chaos to the commercial aviation industry causing the AMT to do more work with less AMT personnel and allowing the fatigue problem to become greatly exacerbated. The researchers examine the basic HF fatigue problems in commercial aviation maintenance before the pandemic and then re-evaluate how fatigue has become a potential hazard in current maintenance operations through the lens of ASRS safety reporting data and utilizing a modified model of Human Factors Analysis Classification System (HFACS). From this analysis the researchers contend that the health of airline maintenance and the AMT calls for a strategy of a HF Two-pronged Safety Attack in aviation maintenance by reducing the consequences of fatigue through HF FRM while preventing human error in maintenance procedures through a HF Safety Reporting System like REPAIRER. This new complementary safety strategy would greatly enhance SMS in maintenance with a HF upgrade.
Keywords: Managing fatigue, safety reporting system, strategic approach to aviation safety
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