Australia's State Aviation Safety Program
3.2—Safety Data Collection, Analysis and Exchange
Australia's well established and comprehensive data collection and analysis system in relation to civil aviation includes a range of safety-related information.
As required by their respective legislative responsibilities, the ATSB, CASA and Airservices all capture and maintain various records relating to incidents, accidents and other safety-related data.
Where seen as necessary or desirable in the interests of aviation safety, data can be shared between agencies in line with protocols established through MOUs as described in Figure 1.8.
Accident and Incident Reporting
Reporting of aviation accidents, serious incidents and certain other safety occurrences to the ATSB is mandated through the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and Transport Safety Investigation Regulations 2003. Aviation safety accidents and other safety occurrences are categorised into Immediately Reportable matters and Routine Reportable matters.
In addition to the mandatory reporting of accidents and other safety occurrences, Australia has established a voluntary confidential reporting scheme for aviation, REPCON, which allows any person who has an aviation safety concern to report it to the ATSB confidentially. Protection of the reporter's identity is a primary element of the scheme.
In line with Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention, the ATSB provides aviation accident and incident data to ICAO through the Accident/Incident Data Reporting (ADREP) system.
Publically Available Aviation Occurrence Data
By the end of 2012, the ATSB will make information from its aviation occurrence database available on the ATSB website for public use. Users will be able to search and export the data either selected or group according to a range of variables including occurrence type, date, location, highest injury level, aircraft and engine type, aircraft maximum weight category, manufacturer and model, operation type, and airspace.
The publically available database will not contain identifying information such as aircraft registration, owner name, or operator name. The database will cover the period from the introduction of the Transport Safety Investigation Act in July 2003, to the present.
Other Safety-Related Reporting and Analysis
Australia's aviation agencies provide for a range of additional measures of data gathering, sharing and analysis.
Occurrence Reports maintained by Airservices, permit systemic analysis and trend monitoring. The MOU between the ATSB and Airservices for investigations and the exchange of safety information provides agreed processes for notification of these reports to the ATSB. Airservices also provides Occurrence Reports to CASA.
Industry is required to report to CASA major defects in aircraft and aeronautical products. These are analysed by CASA as part of the Service Difficulty Reporting System to determine any response required, and trend information is also kept and analysed.
Data Analysis and Reporting
In addition to the ADREP reporting system, Australia also provides traffic exposure data to the ICAO Statistical Division to derive international trend level indicators related to safety.
Australia is also a strong supporter of the next stage of the USOAP—the Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA)—and will engage with ICAO to progress the collection of safety data for the CMA.
In addition to independent no blame investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences, the ATSB contributes to improved transport safety in Australia through safety data recording, analysis and research. Australia through the ATSB will continue its objective of identifying relevant safety issues rather than offering prescriptive solutions. This approach allows those who are best placed to take safety action to identify the most appropriate means of addressing the particular safety issue.
Safety Action: The ATSB Annual Report will include details of the number of safety issues identified and associated safety actions taken in response. It will also include a status report on any formal safety recommendations issued and indicate the extent to which the associated safety issue has been addressed by the relevant organisation or agency, and whether the recommendation remains Open or on Monitor, or has been closed.
The ATSB maintains a database in which all reported aviation occurrences are logged, assessed, classified and recorded. All ATSB statistics are incorporated in a report which encompasses a rolling 10-year reporting cycle. The data is updated on an annual basis with the latest results published on the ATSB's website within 90 days of the end of each 12-month period.
The report contains, inter alia, the following data:
- commercial air transport accident and fatal accident rates per million departures (including rates for sub-categories of commercial aviation);
- general aviation accident and fatal accident rates per million departures (and for subcategories of general aviation, accident and fatal accident rates per million hours flown); and
- commercial air transport and general aviation accidents, serious incidents and incidents by occurrence types.
This information forms the basis of indicators which can be used to measure performance against the objective of maintaining or improving the safety of Australia's aviation industry.
Based on this data and the results of its investigation program, the ATSB undertakes an appropriately scoped and discretely resourced research agenda which has been informed by analysis of its own safety data holdings and investigation findings, and by consultation with relevant stakeholders including other safety agencies, educational institutions and transport industry participants. The aim of this research is to monitor trends and developing safety issues to ensure that systemic hazards are identified and risks are managed both for the system as a whole and by individual service providers.
The ATSB also undertakes specific research and report activities where there may be value in further analysing particular types of occurrences or trends. These activities contribute to the national and international body of safety knowledge and foster action for the improvement of safety systems and operations.
More about Australian aviation data and safety information can be found at:
- ATSB Aviation Statistical Data
- Investigations & Data Analysis Program
- ATSB Completed Research Reports
- Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics Aviation Statistics
CASA maintains current information for all safety regulation activities that it conducts. CASA is currently evaluating options to improve its data collection and analysis capabilities.
CASA conducts a six-monthly AOC Holder Safety Questionnaire (AHSQ) in which AOC holders are required to provide data about their activities including types of aircraft operated, hours flown, categories of operations and factors that might impact safety.
The AHSQ process captures hazard identification and emerging risks information as well as operational information. This information supplements information received from other sources such as Service Difficulty Reports and is used to determine if there are specific safety risks or issues arising. This analysis may lead to CASA taking or requiring action to address any identified safety issues.
Joint Agency Safety Analysis Coordination Group (JASACG)
Since 2011, representatives from all Australian government bodies involved in the collection and analysis of aviation safety data have collaborated through the Joint Agency Safety Analysis Coordination Group. The group comprises specialist safety analysis staff from the ATSB, CASA, Airservices Australia, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, and the Directorate of Defence Aviation and Air Force Safety.
The role of the Joint Agencies Aviation Safety Analysis Coordination Group is to:
- to facilitate the exchange of safety-related data and analyses between the agencies, for the sole purpose of improving aviation safety;
- to identify joint safety analysis projects that utilise the combined capabilities of the joint agencies to produce outputs of safety benefit.
The sole purpose for conducting safety data exchange and analysis through the Joint Agency Safety Analysis Coordination Group is to maintain strong stakeholder relationships where safety data and analyses can be shared and research and analysis efforts coordinated between Agencies to improve aviation safety. The establishment of this group will facilitate the data analysis and reporting function under this State Safety Program.
AMSA provides monthly data on global activation of Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), as detected by the Cospas Sarsat system, to the ICAO Integrated Safety Management Section to aid in Safety Trend analysis.