Human Factors: Managing Risks

This week we’re featuring an excerpt from the just-released latest edition of the Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2, Change 1). This FAA handbook provides tools to help pilots determine and assess each situation for the safest possible flight with the least amount of risk. This handbook presents methods pilots can use to manage the workloads associated with each phase of flight, for a safer, more enjoyable and less stressful experience for both themselves and their passengers.

Risk is the degree of uncertainty. An examination of risk management yields many definitions, but it is a practical approach to managing uncertainty. Risk assessment is a quantitative value assigned to a task, action, or event (Figure 1). When armed with the predicted assessment of an activity, pilots are able to manage and reduce (mitigate) their risk (Figure 2). Take the use of improper hardware on a homebuilt aircraft for construction. Although one can easily see both the hazard is high and the severity is extreme, it does take the person who is using those bolts to recognize the risk. Otherwise, as is in many cases, the chart in Figure 2 is used after the fact. Managing risk takes discipline in separating oneself from the activity at hand in order to view the situation as an unbiased evaluator versus an eager participant with a stake in the flight’s execution. Another simple step is to ask three questions—is it safe, is it legal, and does it make sense? Although not a formal methodology of risk assessment, it prompts a pilot to look at the simple realities of what he or she is about to do.
Figure 1. Types of risk.
Figure 2. Using a risk assessment matrix helps the pilot differentiate between low-risk and high-risk flights.

Therefore, risk management is the method used to control, eliminate, or reduce the hazard within parameters of acceptability. Risk management is unique to each and every individual, since there are no two people exactly alike in skills, knowledge, training, and abilities. An acceptable level of risk to one pilot may not necessarily be the same to another pilot. Unfortunately, in many cases the pilot perceives that his or her level of risk acceptability is actually greater than their capability thereby taking on risk that is dangerous.

It is a decision-making process designed to systematically identify hazards, assess the degree of risk, and determine the best course of action. Once risks are identified, they must be assessed. The risk assessment determines the degree of risk (negligible, low, medium, or high) and whether the degree of risk is worth the outcome of the planned activity. If the degree of risk is “acceptable,” the planned activity may then be undertaken. Once the planned activity is started, consideration must then be given whether to continue. Pilots must have viable alternatives available in the event the original flight cannot be accomplished as planned.

Thus, hazard and risk are the two defining elements of risk management. A hazard can be a real or perceived condition, event, or circumstance that a pilot encounters.

[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Furl] [Google] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter] [Email]

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *


You may want to put some text here



Get this Wordpress newsletter widget
for newsletter software