Aircraft Maintenance Technology

NOV-DEC 2018

The aircraft maintenance professional's source for technological advancements, maintenance alerts, news, articles, events, and careers

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Page 8 of 51 9 5 Steps to an Effective Internal Voluntary Reporting System Step 1. Be clear about scope, process, and lessons learned! Step 2. Ensure anonymity and confidentiality! Step 3. Select a credible steward! Step 4. Be persistent and proselytize! Step 5. Do not undermine managerial authority! 2. Ensure anonymity and confidentiality! Ensuring anonymity for anonymous reporting should be a no-brainer. Surprisingly, some aviation businesses manage to get this wrong. For example, one particular company runs an otherwise world-class safety management system that features an internal VRS. However, it only provides one electronic channel — via the company’s intranet — for submitting “anonymous” reports. Submission is contingent upon an employee logging in via her/his company ID badge and individual access code. So much about “anonymity”! Make sure that your VRS allows submission of truly anonymous reporting via securely encrypted online forms from any computer with internet access, email to a dedicated company email address, or even traditional snail-mail to a dedicated company post box address. You could also make use of good old letter boxes in which reports can be dropped off manually and which are placed in areas not subject to CCTV surveillance. In the case of confidential reporting, the reporting person must have the assurance that reported information will be treated truly confidentially and, as core part of a nonpunitive culture, will not result in adverse consequences for the reporting person. Adverse consequences to be avoided can range from basic disciplinary measures like letters of reprimand to negative implications for the reporting person’s career development and also include legal issues such as loss of employment. Remember the “single failure trap:” It only takes one single breach of anonymity or confidentiality to undermine efficacy of the entire VRS! So approach protection of anonymity and confidentiality with a zero-error, must-not-fail spirit. DR. MARC SZEPAN is a Lecturer at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School. Previously, he was a senior executive at Lufthansa. His primary professional experience has been in leading technical and digital aviation businesses in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford.

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