Accountability

As we provide workshops around the country, I have many opportunities to discuss maintenance errors and their prevention. Unfortunately, too often I find that some technicians still feel that it is up to their employer to make sure that maintenance errors...


As we provide workshops around the country, I have many opportunities to discuss maintenance errors and their prevention. Unfortunately, too often I find that some technicians still feel that it is up to their employer to make sure that maintenance errors do not occur. These technicians cite such factors as unrealistic time lines, lack of proper resources, hangar lighting, lack of spares, and the list goes on and on. They believe that the company that employs them is responsible for creating an environment that creates or enables the errors to occur.

Within some aviation companies these situations may be true, especially because of perceived intense economic competition. Even in intensely competitive business environments, history has shown that operating an aviation department, which is focused daily on safety, is an essential attribute to business survivability. Those companies that operate by seeing how much more they can squeeze out of the maintenance budget for example, and fail to instill a proper attitude towards safety, create an environment for their own demise. They become targets for take over, merger, consolidation, and bankruptcy candidates. And, if a catastrophic accident occurs which is traced back to a lack of proper safety initiatives, there might not be much left of the business by the time the courts, including the court of public opinion, are through.

Every one of us, as professional maintenance technicians, must accept individual responsibility for our own actions, work product, professional growth, continuous training, and self-improvement. At the end of the day, we as technicians are responsible for our own actions.

As professionals in our industry, as in any other industry, we have to be accountable for our own actions. Doctors are accountable. Engineers and architects are accountable. As the maintainers of complex aircraft, every day a large number of people depend on what we do to be completed correctly, every time. We must be aware of those factors that can adversely effect our judgment at critical moments in our day to day routine. We must be aware of how our own attitude, self esteem, our ability to communicate, complacency, pressure, stress, distractions and lack of knowledge effect our judgment. Knowing this, we can better understand what counter measures we need to implement in our work routine to make sure we are not creating maintenance errors and that we reduce the possibility of such errors occurring in the future. By doing these things, we have accepted responsibility for our actions, taken significant steps to reduce or eliminate human errors, and assumed individual professional accountability for our actions. I will discuss some specific human factors which are essential in creating a safer work environment, but which are based on individuals.

Attitude is extremely important. What is our attitude towards our job, position, company, shift, peers and management? How many of us come to work with a chip on our shoulder? An individual who comes to work with a high self-esteem is able to work well with others because of his self-image. Regardless of what happens during the day, he knows that he has tried the best he can to make decisions, look for the good in others' actions, and take criticism constructively. And, a positive attitude is contagious in a good way. This is a basic starting point — come to work with a positive attitude and high self esteem. If you find that you just cannot muster a positive attitude and feel good about yourself, then perhaps you should consider some changes in your life that will help to create this positive attitude.

What can we do to make sure we have a positive attitude and a high self-esteem? Establishing goals and direction in our lives is a very good starting point. If we go through life aimlessly, how will we know when we have reached a threshold in our life? Reaching these thresholds and goals is what keeps our self-esteem up and which directly influences our attitude.

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