The Time is Now

The Time is Now! Human factors training for aircraft technicians By Richard Komarniski October 2000 A recent change by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to Annex 6 Part I requires that "The training program...


The manager's role
As managers of maintenance organizations, we have a choice to make. We can simply comply with this training requirement because the new regulation says we must, but give it no support. Or, we can look at what benefits this training can provide and embrace this requirement.
The manager's role in supporting human factors training is to listen to the technicians and address their comments and ideas. Determine what can be implemented immediately, what needs to be taken to a higher level, and what may not be appropriate based on the organization and its culture. The technicians will learn about maintenance error prevention and what they can do for themselves, but they will also be introduced to new and improved methods of doing their job.

Human reliability program?
If we support this new training requirement, the attitude change that will take place after the training will create a positive behavioral change. The changes will lead to maintenance error reduction resulting in better performance, improved customer satisfaction, improved employee morale and major reduction in maintenance error costs.
To support human factors training if and when further incidents occur, we must have a formal method of investigation and look for ways of preventing an incident from occurring again. We have to look at why the person made that specific decision leading to the error and what can be done to prevent it from occurring again.
Measurement of errors, through the creation of a data base is essential in order to identify trends for recurrent training requirements to correct latent failures and also provides a means to monitor progress. When you think about it, we do this every day with aircraft parts that fail, known as a maintenance reliability program - what about a human reliability program?
Technicians learn a lot from each other in a workshop environment. A facilitator who can bring out the best in each of them can help to change the blame culture to a learning culture. This is tough to do alone sitting in front of a computer.
Regardless of the route you choose to provide human factors awareness training to your technicians, you can't afford not to in today's competitive environment.

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