There has been a lot of talk lately about our "Safety Initiative" and having to adjust our maintenance culture; the problem is that it seems that no one is listening. We not only have maintained status quo on this issue, but seemed to have gained in areas that we do not need to have growth – we have noticed an increase in aircraft damage.
What is causing the increase? Can we blame the dirty dozen? This would be easy to do on paper in an ASAP report; however, sometimes we are just not following procedures as prescribed in the maintenance manual or we are in too much of a hurry to get the task accomplished. We all need to slow down, take a breath, evaluate, follow procedures prescribed by the manufacturer and our companies, and perform our duties as skilled Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs). We need to be aware of our past culture of "get er done." We need to ensure that we are not being pressured by others or ourselves to "get er done." Our regulations and demands are much greater than they were ten years ago. You will never be disciplined for doing the job correctly and should never be harassed by management or even your peers in the completion of your duties. The time that we spend by following our new culture will pay for itself tenfold when it prevents accidents or incidents of any type to aircraft or persons.
I want you to understand that most accidents can be prevented following these tenets. There is not only an increase in AMTs causing damage to aircraft system-wide, but there are also people that are doing paperwork incorrectly and not following procedures. Ignorance is not an excuse. Be aware of the "know before fix" bulletins and related correspondence that come out almost daily to include new procedures. We need to make sure we are aware of these and follow them. Change, otherwise known as moving the cheese, is difficult. We need to be aware and overcome this, and do the task regardless of how mundane or unimportant it might seem.
You also need to remember "big brother is watching." This futuristic quote from George Orwell has come true today, not only at work, but in life in general. Be aware of your actions and realize that at any time you could be under surveillance. This is not only a camera, but the companies have been tracking taxi speeds and have pointed out speeds and noncompliance such as not aligning IRUs before movement. We are also tracked other ways, so be conscience of your actions. If we are doing the right thing, following our manuals or other reference materials, this should not even be an issue.
Don’t let the distractions of stressful contract negotiations become a "human factor" that could diminish your work performance, and please take the time to review the AMFA National Safety Initiative at www.amfanational.org. Be sure that you continue to work in full compliance of all maintenance manual requirements and continue to be the best and most professional in the business.
David A. Brooks
National Safety & Standards Director
Safety in the Air Begins with Quality Maintenance on the Ground
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
14001 E Iliff Avenue, Suite 217
Aurora, CO 80014
Phone: 303-752-AMFA (2632)