• There are procedures for rejection of work by an RII inspector including procedures for override of the rejection by higher authority within the quality unit.
• If additional findings are made by the RII inspector, those findings must be bought back using internal procedures.
• And finally, work turnover: Each operator or agent working for an operator such as an MRO, must have procedures to ensure that required inspections, other maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alterations that are not completed as a result of shift changes or similar work interruptions are properly completed before the aircraft is released to service.
Books could be written on shift turnover and in fact there are some interesting analysis of shift turnover as it relates to accidents and incidents; mostly related to their mismanagement or lack of accomplishment. When managing work turnover one is managing a human factors process. The most common errors are errors of omission often resulting in incomplete work. The task of turnover is to connect the dots and keep them connecting to assure that things don’t fall through the cracks, i.e., no missed steps in the repair process.
Shift turnover is a communication task — something for which most mechanics are not well equipped. To be successful, shift turnover procedures have to be trained and enforced. They have to be used daily in a context that assures they are complete and effective. Anytime work is to be interrupted a turnover should be made. Processes for describing remaining work must be comprehensive in scope to assure that work is properly completed. For example, if there is only one shift then management must make it clear to personnel that a turnover should be made in preparation for picking up the job the following day. If it is to be covered on a task card then the means to accomplish a proper turnover must be part of the organization’s internal maintenance procedures. Audits to verify compliance should be accomplished often.
Turnover performance — audit findings
Shift turnover is often a weak area of compliance. Many maintenance organizations mention it in their training, but do not train personnel specifically in its use. There is an expectation of performance. When accomplishing compliance audits, I will review the daily shift turnover records. My efforts reveal many issues that include the following examples of noncompliance or concern:
1. General description of work progress — lack of detail when RII activity was present.
2. To-do list of things remaining. Entries are unrelated to specific tasks and their state of completion.
3. Anecdotal information related to HR or personnel performance.
4. Lack of safety information related to safety hazards present on the aircraft.
5. Only key elements of the check events themselves are often in the shift turnover.
6. The turnover in rare cases has been used as a place for documenting maintenance when it has not been recorded on the aircraft log or nonroutine paperwork.
Much of this information may be useful to the project manager, but does not serve the safety function that the shift turnover process was intended in the regulation.
Prioritization of work in progress
When I instruct technicians and inspectors on shift turnover, I like to explain that a good turnover prioritizes the subject matter. RII work in progress is first. It is a maintenance safety concern. If the RII repair work goes across shift (day shift to swing shift, for example) or work is halted until the following day, their appearance in the turnover log is mandatory. A turnover entry when written must include a description of the unfinished work, the checklist steps or manual reference showing what work was accomplished, and the specific work step where work left off. It must identify who did the work and any in-process inspections that were accomplished. Next shift RII inspectors should be briefed as well to assure that they are aware of the interruption and how the work has been managed prior to shift change.
Checklists are an effective production and control tool.
Quality Assurance By Brian Whitehead March 1999 Brian Whitehead is chief, policy development for the Aircraft Maintenance & Manufacturing branch in Ottawa. E-mail questions or comments...
Pending penatly against airline is for operating 46 airplanes on 59,791 flights without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage fatigue cracking.