Airline Safety Management: The development of a proactive safety mechanism model for the evolution of safety management system

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Hsu, Yueh-Ling (2004)
  • Publisher: Cranfield University

The systemic origins of many accidents have led to heightened interest in the way in which organisations identify and manage risks within the airline industry. The activities which are thought to represent the term "organisational accident", "safety culture" and "proactive approach" are documented and seek to explain the fact that airlines differ in their willingness and ability to conduct safety management. However, an important but yet relatively undefined task in the airline industry is to conceptualise the safety mechanism in proactive safety, and its influential factors. What is required is a model of a proactive safety mechanism which builds upon existing knowledge of what is thought to contribute to safety by adding an increased knowledge of the organisational factors. These factors not only serve to influence the safety mechanism, but also serve to be the predictors of the performance of safety management system. This thesis aims to fill that gap. It firstly conducts an overview of the current airline safety management system literature and identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. Given the need to explore the important but undefined field, a proactive safety mechanism model is then developed and tested to identify the organisational factors which exert an influence upon the safety mechanism. Four hypotheses were set out to be tested in an attempt to justify the multi-dimensional and complex nature of the safety mechanism model. The model is then tested by applying it to a past accident (case study) and a survey of opinions with questionnaire. The results of this research work show that the safety mechanism model is a model of the evolution of safety management system in the context of proactive safety management. Further study can apply the proposed model to the re-organisation of an airline safety management system and evaluate the impact upon the company's system. It leads to the suggestion that an airline's safety health and performance needs the co-ordination of both retroactive and proactive safety management, and concludes that the ultimate contribution of this research is to provide airlines with reliable data, applicable references and a practicable methodology to enable their safety management system to evolve at a fundamentally "genetic" level.
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