What can other industries learn from aviation?
Flight safety is a precondition for consumer acceptance of air travel as well as – to a large extent – for the economical success of an airline. It is an interesting fact, less than 10% of all safety relevant incidents in aviation are solely caused by technical faults. About two thirds of all incidents happen during daily routine operation, the so-called „normal ops“. Even in complex and sophisticated systems with a high degree of automation the human being remains to be the core of the decision-making process – that part will even play an bigger role in the future!
But the „human system“, by design, is prone to error. And even more so under the influence of stress and high mental demands. The evolutionary design of the homo sapiens is limited in its ability to understand complex dependancies and to carry out well structured decisions under pressure. Which „design flaws“ are an inheritance of evolution and how can we cope with them?
Technology reliefs us from routine works, however the demands due to monitoring and decision making have greatly increased!
Since the early 1970s, aviation has understood that despite technologically matured systems the safety record was about to deteriorate. So-called „human error“ came into the focus of attention and became a key point for improving flight safety. For the last decades, human factor training for crews has been constantly refined in joint effort by airlines, aviation psychologists and research centres. It has now become an inherent part of initial and recurrent training for flight crews. The development of human factor training has brought up well-engineered concepts for interpersonal communication, team and leadership behaviour as well as decision making models. These concepts – though based on scientific theory – focus on down-to-earth behavioral methods and guidelines in step with actual practice which can be effectively trained.
This knowledge and the developed methods can be transferred to other industries as well!
Industry sector, size of enterprise, organisation, history