Australia's State Aviation Safety Programme
2. State safety risk management
2.4 Safety risk assessment
Aviation safety systems are dependent on timely, accurate and informative reports about safety incidents and events. Having adequate intelligence about what is happening within the system enables trends to be identified, recurring issues to be resolved and risks within the system to be measured and responded to appropriately.
As required by their respective legislative responsibilities ATSB, BOM, CASA and Airservices all capture and maintain various records relating to incidents, accidents and other safety-related data.
In the interests of aviation safety, data is shared between agencies in line with protocols established through MOUs (see Section 1.2). CASA and the ATSB have also issued a Safety Information Policy Statement, which reflects an approach informed by ‘just culture’ principles and is available on the CASA and ATSB websites.
Australia encourages a positive reporting culture where all industry participants are willing to disclose any incidents that occur and any mistakes they make. Consistent with a ‘just culture’ approach, people who report incidents and mistakes are not normally prosecuted or punished, except in cases where their action was wilful, reckless or grossly negligent.
Accident and incident reporting
ATSB is primarily responsible for collecting, analysing and researching safety data. In this role it administers the various mandatory and voluntary reporting schemes established under the TSI Act. Aviation safety accidents and other safety occurrences are categorised into Immediately Reportable matters and Routine Reportable matters.
The mandatory reporting scheme established under the TSI Act gathers information on occurrences which endanger or could endanger aviation safety. The information gathered provides accounts of actual or potential safety hazards and deficiencies. The information is used to identify safety issues that need to be addressed to improve system safety.
In line with Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention, ATSB provides aviation accident and incident data to ICAO through the Accident/Incident Data Reporting (ADREP) system.
Further information on Australia's mandatory reporting scheme is available at: www.atsb.gov.au/mandatory/asair-form/
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 ATSB confidentially. Protection of the reporter's identity is a primary element of the scheme.
Further information on Australia's voluntary reporting scheme is available at: www.atsb.gov.au/voluntary/repcon-aviation.aspx
The Aviation Self Reporting Scheme (ASRS) is a voluntary and confidential aviation self-reporting system that provides protection from administrative action, or from paying an Infringement Notice in certain circumstances.
The scheme is established under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998. Further information on the ASRS is available at: www.atsb.gov.au/voluntary/asrs/asrs_more.aspx
Publically available aviation occurrence data
ATSB makes information from its aviation occurrence database available on the ATSB website for public use. Users are able to search and export either selected or group data 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 does not contain identifying information such as aircraft registration, owner name, or operator name. The database covers the period from the introduction of the TSI Act in July 2003, to the present.
Other safety-related reporting and analysis
Australia's aviation agencies provide for a range of additional means of data gathering, sharing and analysis.
Occurrence Reports maintained by Airservices permit systemic analysis and trend monitoring. The MOU between 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 major defects in aircraft and aeronautical products to CASA. 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 data to ICAO to derive international trend level indicators related to safety.
Further to independent ‘no-blame’ investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences, ATSB contributes to improved transport safety in Australia through safety data recording, analysis and research.
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.
The ATSB also undertakes specific research and reports activities where there may be value in further analysing particular types of occurrences or trends.
This activity contributes to the national and international body of safety knowledge and fosters action for the improvement of safety systems and operations. Links to more about Australian aviation data and safety information can be found at Appendix F.
CASA maintains current information for all safety regulation activities that it conducts.
CASA regularly conducts AOC Holders Safety Questionnaires (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. CASA uses the responses to inform aviation safety initiatives.
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.
Joint Agency Aviation Safety Analysis Coordination Group (JAASACG)
Conducting safety data exchange and analysis through the JAASACG assists in maintaining strong stakeholder relationships and allows safety data to be shared and research and analysis efforts coordinated between agencies to improve aviation safety. This group facilitates the data analysis and reporting function under this State Safety Programme.