October 22, 2018
Sofema Aviation Services www.sassofia.com considers Confidential Safety Reporting in a European Aviation Environment
A voluntary confidential reporting scheme can provide safety information that would otherwise not be available, and can allow early identification of aviation safety problems and trends, leading to corrective action by operators and the regulator. It is widely recognised that a focus on the human factors associated with aircraft accidents and incidents is needed to further improve air safety, and a voluntary confidential reporting scheme can be an important part of that approach.
A voluntary confidential reporting scheme is an essential part of a mature aviation safety system. It supplements, though of course does not replace, a comprehensive and well administered mandatory accident and incident reporting scheme
For a voluntary confidential reporting scheme to be successful the aviation industry must feel that it is a worthwhile endeavour. If the industry perception is that the information provided is not acted on, then it is unlikely that they will continue to submit reports. Hence, some form of publication is needed to make it clear that there is a safety benefit in submitting reports.
Under Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, the European Aviation Safety Agency (hereafter EASA) has a Confidential Safety Reporting system in place to enable individuals to voluntary report to EASA alleged malpractices and irregularities in the field of aviation safety, without having to fear that their action may have adverse consequences for their person.
ICAO Annex 13, paragraph 8.2, contains a recommendation for contracting States to establish a voluntary incident reporting system to facilitate the collection of information that may not be captured by a mandatory incident reporting system. Paragraph 8.3 states that a voluntary incident reporting system shall be non-punitive and afford protection to the sources of information.
Who can report?
Confidential Safety Reports can be submitted by any individual, reporting in their personal capacity typically reporting of malpractices and irregularities to the European Aviation Safety Agency in the field of aviation safety
Note – Confidential Safety Reporting does not replace the normal (mandatory and voluntary) occurrence reporting lines for aviation professionals.
What can be reported?
Confidential Safety Reporting system allows reporting any suspected, presumed or alleged violations of the European Union’s legal framework for civil aviation safety.
Please note that the following do not fall under the scope of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 and that EASA has therefore no power (not under Confidential Safety Reporting system nor any other procedure) to take any action in relation to:
Passenger rights complaints;
Economic disputes or unfair competition grievances;
Contractual labour disputes;
Military aviation as well as aircraft involved in customs, police or similar services;
Security and police matters.
If you think that EASA is the competent authority for your matter, then before submitting your report please ensure that your information is:
Relevant and related to civil aviation safety;
Sufficiently specific, substantiated and complete, and ideally supported by documentary evidence; unspecified allegations cannot be followed up by EASA.
The scheme should be available to anyone with an aviation safety concern. The scheme should be administered by an agency other than the State civil aviation regulator. This is because even the perception that the regulator may use the information reported to take action against specific individuals is likely to inhibit the number and comprehensiveness of the reports submitted.
It should be understood that ‘confidential’ does not mean ‘anonymous’. Knowing the reporter’s identity, and being able to contact them, allows the agency to clarify and enlarge on the matter that is the focus of the report.
Confidential means that while the reporter’s identity is known to the agency to which the report is submitted, their identity will not be passed on to any third party, such as an operator or the regulator. In addition, any details in the report that could lead to the identification of the reporter will be removed before the report is made public or available to a third party.
Confidential reporting is best used to address systemic safety issues rather than take action against individuals.
Sofema Aviation Services www.sassofia.com and our sister company SofemaOnline www.sofemaonline.com provide classroom and online training for regulatory and vocational training fully compliant with EASA requirements. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com