The Enforceable v Affordable safety – a twiddle.
Whether we get another chance to voice an opinion to a Senate committee is in the lap of the gods. But, if we do, I’ve been playing about with some of PAIN associates theories and notions related to ‘safety’ as in the ‘mystique thereof’. Some of the theory is academic but most is based on a the common sense thinking of practical folk, those who must grapple with the ever mounting pile of complex legislation and distil it into useable operational tenets.
I won’t bore you too much with this, but I thought it worth a few words to elaborate a couple of points which keep appearing through the discussion.
Enforceable safety – is a clear point of conjecture; the increase in regulation which is written purely to aid ‘the prosecution’ of individuals and companies which, without intent have breached some points of ‘law’. Any meaningful defence is ruthlessly eradicated, this is becoming clearer in the new regulation emerging; the complexity simply overwhelms the non legal brain and it’s London to brick, if the law was challenged, it would task even the skilled legal brain – for and against. We seem to heading toward the high courts or accepting the penalty issued without a middle ground. The AAAT certainly cannot any longer be viable, not with the complexity and often constitutional matters which could be parlayed into a defence. The costs of this are prohibitive. But the real issues, as far as the associates are concerned, is has this new approach to aviation legislation improved the operational safety analysis, or simply made ‘safety’ through law, after the event; easier to prosecute and lay blame? Rather than preventing the ‘event’ which gave rise to the prosecution. It’s an interesting debate when the construct is applied to an accident scenario, particularly a major one.
Affordable safety – Gee whiz, you hear this topic, you see this topic, you read this topic; but it’s never quite ‘quantified’ and rarely analysed. Risk analysis. Insurance companies do it very well, maybe to their advantage, but that is the business they are in, so it’s to be expected. But does ‘aviation’ do it? Lots of lip service, lots of discussion and everyone bangs on about ‘safety’ whatever that is. But when you start to break it down, in terms of legal risk you can clearly see that the operational ‘risk’ and risk mitigation has changed very little; but the risk of prosecution has increased. There are so many examples on my files where the operational risk mitigation message is lost, completely and utterly in the miles of paper and thousands of word devoted to mitigating the risk of prosecution and identifying ‘someone’ to blame for whatever occurred.
This is not the way things should be, IMO the regulator and the regulated should be stripping away the clumsy, complex legal rigmarole and refocussing on what is essential and how to make the essentials foremost in mitigating risk whenever and where ever possible.
Ends Sunday ramble, wishing (wistfully) for an end to present legal domination of aviation and the resurgence of the practical, honest practitioner of clear rule writing – like those Kiwi blokes and blokettes have.
Aye, dreams are made of this. The lament of the practical man.