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When will airlines start preparing safety cases?

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When will airlines start preparing safety cases?

Old 12th Jul 2010, 15:01
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When will airlines start preparing safety cases?

When will airlines start preparing safety cases?

Last edited by Shell Management; 30th Aug 2011 at 19:39.
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Old 12th Jul 2010, 15:13
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Safety cases, as invented by the oil industry, have been shown to be the best way to manage high risk industries.
BP? .............................
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Old 12th Jul 2010, 15:24
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Cliff (?), I suspect that, as 'Shell Management', the Governors of Louisiana and Florida would welcome you standing up in court and saying that.
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Old 12th Jul 2010, 15:46
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I don't understand what prompted you to start this thread, other than the righteousness of the converted - although I doubt you could 'convert' in three years.

Royal Dutch Shell safety concerns.

An article titled "Sharpening Shell’s safety culture" was published on 10 August 2007 on the web portal website of the energy multi-national Royal Dutch Shell. Authored by James Schofield, an editor and speech writer at Shell, the article concedes in the sub-headline: "There are many examples of successful safety programmes in Shell but overall its safety record doesn’t measure up to other major oil and gas companies. Each fatality is one too many, so Shell is launching new initiatives to build a stronger safety culture." The Schofield article provides an informative overview of Shell safety issues on a global basis and it is recommended that it be read in conjunction with this article, which currently focuses mainly on Shell North Sea operations.

Are you really trying to tell us that Shell has something to teach aviation at large about safety?
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Old 12th Jul 2010, 22:53
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Strictly speaking, ICAO does not require aircraft operators to prepare a safety case; only to use a safety management system. Some may argue that this inevitably will result in a safety case of some sort, but it is not required.

You ask why operators do not prepare safety cases. I don't work in flight operations (but in ATC) and my experience would suggest such documents or arguments are seen as providing little benefit. Regulators are not skilled in using safety assurance documentation as a basis for oversight. Often the regulator seems to use 'Send us a safety case...' as a means to avoid a having to make a decision, and then, when it receives a safety case, doesn't know what to do with it.

From the service provider's perspective, safety management seems to be yet another opportunity for the few skilled (and semi-skilled) safety management practitioners to sell their services, and write a pretty document that no-one in the SP reads, or understands, or believes in.

Do I sound cynical? Maybe it's because after 10 years I've seen lots of SMSs, and quite a few safety cases - heck, I've even written some - but all we seem to have done in the vast majority of cases is produce piles of documents with very little demonstrable improvement in safety. And, in most cases, good, experienced, professional decision makers can still knock spots off someone who is given the job of 'looking after the SMS'.

Want to fix it? First, start by getting the regulators to understand how a good SMS will work and what a safety case really is; second, get them to explain what they need to the operators.

And the (admittedly limited) exposure that I have had to SMSs/safety assurance in other industries suggests to me that effective implementation is patchy at best and is handled by the respective industries in much the same way as it is in aviation today. I'd be glad to be shown to be wrong because I'm a believer in the SMS approach, but I'm yet to be anywhere near to being convinced.
Old 13th Jul 2010, 14:01
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Shell Management, I wrote earlier – “I don't understand what prompted you to start this thread”. I’m still baffled. I’ve read the paper referenced by you in Post 1. My conclusion – the author shows almost no understanding of what’s required, by law, to maintain and operate public transport aircraft.

The paper says ‘Development of an aviation safety case is essential as it focuses a company's top management and staff on the real risks that need to be managed and ensures that every reasonable effort is taken to provide safe operations’.

The last few words are an absolute give away that aircraft hangars and Flt Ops are completely foreign to the author. What’s described is an airline accountants dream. “OK guys, from now on just make every reasonable effort to provide safe operations’.

But I’m still baffled. What does this mean? “It became clear that the means of controlling a hazard varied depending on whether the aircraft was in flight, undergoing maintenance or moving on the ground”. Became clear? Was this a lightning bolt revelation; or perhaps a slow dawning.

Your post above ‘One only has to look how few threads are started on this Safety, CRM, QA & Emergency Response Planning part of this site to realise the lack of interest the airline industry really has in safety’.

Eh? Could it be that aviation has reached levels of safety, control and regulation such that anonymous forums, and your opinions, don’t really have a lot to offer?

Please tell us what aviation qualifications you hold, we’d maybe form a better picture of your motives. And please learn to spell ‘amateurs’. Only amateurs get it wrong. (Also, you may want to correct your today’s – ‘the Super Puma is obselete.)

My bafflement has now got the better of me and I’ve looked at some of your recent posts. How about this;

One has come to expect such small minded envy from hired hands who will never rise to the exulted (sic) aviation pinacle (sic) of being a Shell Aviation Advisor.


Do your bosses read your literary pearls? Did Walter M have bosses?
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Old 13th Jul 2010, 14:41
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Is it that well known pig-headed arrogance that most airline pilots promoted to management postions have?
I think this little hand grenade (along with the abysmal spelling), thrown in amongst a group of those very same people, makes Mr Shell Management a troll??...

Either that, or he has a very large axe to grind with those same people he is out to aggravate?? Lost his job from his desk-bound position, due to those same people, perhaps??...
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Old 13th Jul 2010, 16:23
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I asked - 'Please tell us what aviation qualifications you hold, we’d maybe form a better picture of your motives'. You didn't answer, which speaks volumes. We now have the answer.

Your juvenile postings throughout this forum do nothing to enhance the standing of Shell Aircraft, and I'm sure that Shell Aircraft value their reputation. I don't think you work for Shell. I don't believe that Shell would hire anyone so naive.

Easy fix. This chap can confirm, or otherwise. I'm sure you won't mind if I point him in the direction of some of your fruitier missives and ask. I'll let you know how I get on.

About Aviation Safety Consulting Limited

On a more benevolent note, I've seen people crack before, and I just wonder .....
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Old 13th Jul 2010, 16:54
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I offered a serious response to the original question. I can assure you that my reply is based on professional experience and I believe that I have a good understanding of both the aviation industry and of SMS.

I am not inclined to rise greatly to your assertions of amateurism, save to offer the view that your view that '...safety case is an essential part of an SMS' demonstrates a rather blinkered view of how safety can be managed in an organisation. Of far more importance is whether the organisation actively manages its activities in order to achieve an acceptably safe standard of operation; what it calls its documents and how it conducts/records hazard analysis is of little matter.
Old 13th Jul 2010, 22:22
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SM, “Safety cases, as invented by the oil industry, have been shown to be the best way to manage high risk industries.” Really?
Safety Cases were intended to be an aid to thinking about risk, not an end in themselves. Haddon-Cave?
Also, a hazard of claiming invention is that someone will probably cite earlier work, e.g. Patrick Hudson of Leiden University who was contracted by Shell.

The oil and gas industry do appear to have taken a lead with safety initiatives; see:-
Hearts and Minds - Home
OGP Risk Management Homepage
(which I suspect that SM is well aware of)

A weakness in aviation could be in not having a centralised coordinator (other than a regulator) for this type of work; cf ‘The Energy Institute’. Thus there may be material ‘knowledge’ gaps between what is published by regulators – the minimum requirement, and what should be used as best practice.

How can the investigators (NTSB / AAIB) be responsible (“their backward ways”) for regulation. Its not their mandate. Investigators are faced with the facts after an event, the regulators, as with operators, have to promote safety beforehand, and if found wanting, implement the investigators findings.

“BP failed to use a safety case in the US. Just proves the point.
A bit presumptions; lets wait for the full story.
Whilst in this instance BP might not have used industry best practice, it appears that they provided sufficient safety / risk information for an operating licence to be granted. This implies that the ‘regulator’ (and government) knew what was happening; now reconsider the share of responsibility.
Aviation (every industry) should be able to learn from the BP’s problems, but learning requires understanding and application.

”This is something the airline industry doesn´t do.”
Again presumptuous. Just because a process is not visible it doesn’t imply that SMS / risk assessments in some form are not in use.
The aviation industry (with a few exceptions) is recognised as a high reliable industry – an ‘ultra safe system’ (Amalberti); the oil and gas industry is not always associated with this category.
With high levels of safety, an industry requires new and often novel ways of thinking just to maintain the status quo.
Thus heed “Safety Cases were intended to be an aid to thinking about risk, not an end in themselves,” the important issue is to think about risk; how the thoughts are acted on – safety case, SMS, or otherwise – is of lesser importance.
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Old 14th Jul 2010, 10:08
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I do believe we've been had. Shell Management's profile shows his Home Page as the Shell web, which worked yesterday. Today there's a little exclamation mark icon and access is blocked. Oh dear. Shell Management persona non grata at Shell. Surprise surprise.

Home Page:
The Shell global homepage - Global
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Old 18th Jul 2010, 15:16
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Flight International claimed this week that airline safety performance has levelled off at 2003 levels so perhaps we all have something to learn from other industries.

However a sign that Shell don't have much to crow about is that Shell, BP & Total were fined over £5 million this week for their parts in the massive Buncefield explosion.

Buncefield companies fined £5.35m for oil depot blaze | UK news | guardian.co.uk

forget - I'm suprised you have not posted that already - you were pretty quick with this http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/412...explosion.html !

I don't understand the point of your last post. The Shell WWW link certainly works today.
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Old 18th Jul 2010, 15:53
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forget - I'm suprised you have not posted that already - you were pretty quick with this.
I was 'pretty quick' with that because, at the time, it was breaking news.

I don't understand the point of your last post. The Shell WWW link certainly works today.
Think it through, squib, think it through. ( Clue. Again, it has something to do with time.)
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 16:09
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Hallo Shell Management,

I have had experience/exposure to the "Shell" Hazreg/Bowtie/Safety case ensemble, in both rotary and fixed wing environments, and with the Job title of Safety Manager.

My experiences.............

Shell appeared once a year, gave you a sack load of material, and then expected full implementation by the time they re-appeared the following year - Not much in the way of product support, mentoring, training etc etc.

Retro fitting a Safety Suit(e) might work when placed on a oil rig, it works far less well when draped over an airline - irrespective of its aircraft type.

It will, (probably does) work for Shell - congratulations on designing a bespoke safety system. But that is in "Shell world" only, the rest of us inhabit a somewhat different corporate environment.

I now know that "over -complicated- trying- to- solve all -the- worlds-problems", via an excel spreadsheet (which is what the Shell Hazreg was) is not a winning strategy.

In recent years I have found the ICAO guidance (9859 et al) to be the guidance which gives the most clarity, and actually gives one something to work with.

You may want to consider that when you want to engage with other like minded people, to either share a problem, or request their indulgence, that using an accusative style will do you absolutely no favours in life whatsoever.

Over the years I have got to know people who inhabit the Shell Aviation dept, gotta say,............ none of them sound or act like you.

B rgds

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Old 21st Jul 2010, 20:55
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The problem is that Shell insist on imposing their own system because nanny Shell knows best and I'm afraid I have seen this level of agressive, arrogance before!
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Old 22nd Jul 2010, 08:21
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Shell Management

I find the tone of your communications quite shocking really. Aggressive, arrogant and lacking any knowledge of aviation matters.

An interesting statement you made was
It is SO frustrating to spend so long devising and promoting the only clear way to protect yourself from a court case to see others ignorantly fail to take up best Shell practice.
perhaps that is the fundamental difference between our professions. In aviation we devise safety and training systems designed to protect us from loss of life and loss of aircraft, and any impact on the earnings of the legal profession is an aside and of no consequence to our primary safety aim.

You are procedure driven, indeed apparently procedure mad. The problem with procedures is that you can write them, reams of them for everything, yet people still break them, and as a result an incident may occur. The trick is understanding, truly understanding the reasons WHY people break procedures and then working with that and your most important asset, your people.

I have worked in the aviation safety industry for over 12 years, prior to a full career as a pilot, and one of the reasons I believe there are so few inputs on this particular thread is that the whole aviation attitude to safety, CRM and Human Factors has become embedded in to our everyday professional lives. I would not say we sit back on our laurels, far from it, but we have got the major part of the problem licked, and we strive to continually improve that.

In the future of aviation the only logical path forward will be that the percentage of accidents caused by Human Error will increase. There can be no other conclusion as the machines are becoming more reliable, our understanding of material science more thorough and our maintenance and NDT procedures more trustworthy with components being replaced before any predicted failure can occur. So the only weak link in all of that is the Human machine interface. Our aim in the short term should be to strive for scientific and engineering excellence with the machine, and we will be in the situation where almost 100% of aircraft accidents will be caused by Human Error. Whilst that may sound alarming, what we have also done is to reduce significantly the physical 'number' of accidents. In the 1950's there were hundreds/thousands of aircraft accidents every year, but for all the reasons stated above that number has now reduced to a handful effectively.

We have done well to eradicate the very aggressive self righteous attitudes from our Pilots on an
inflated driver´s salary or perceived status.
that used to exist in the 60's and 70's that you so magnificently display in your posts. You really really need to start working on 'the people' because if your attitude is representative of those in your industry then you still have massive problems that lie ahead.

You state that your concern is
The safety of the travelling public
well if that is truly the case then relax! Aviation is the safest form of travel on the planet today, and it has never been safer, testimony to the excellent work done by our pilots, and flight crews, maintenance technicians and support staff world-wide. We have tried to encourage the rail industry for a long time to adopt similar training of key staff as in aviation. Well you inform us that the rail industry has adopted 'safety cases' and whilst that is delightful news, it does not address the individuals understanding of why they will fall asleep at the controls, or the cognitive failures that will result in the driver seeing a 'green light' when it was infact 'red'. Safety cases are but one piece of armour that can be put in place to prevent a life critical or business critical failure, but rather like the knight on the battlefield who only wears a steel boot and nothing else, whilst his foot will stay safe the rest of him is somewhat exposed to danger.

I have worked with the largest off shore aviation companies in the world, and the picture is not as rosy in your industry as you paint it to be. Your industry is system mad and study mad and it shows from what you have said. A friend of mine had £60K to spend on safety training of teams for exploration rigs in the icy north. We sat for hours looking at the lessons from aviation and what he could achieve with some communication training and looking at the effects of fatigue on Human performance and decision making etc. Seventeen years of work already carried out by the aviation industry with the lessons there to be plucked for free, and what does the PhD Geophysicist do? Correct he spends £55K on an academic study from a University on why Human Error occurs. He still admits today that his decision to do that was a human error.

We do not continually discuss all of this SM because as said before it is now embedded in our culture.

You may also wish to reflect upon your 'style'. Their are many many definitions of Leadership, but in its simplest form it could be said to be 'the ability to get the best out of your people for any given situation'. I absolutely assure you that if your 'style' is as we see here on this forum, then on a day to day basis you will never get the best out of people.

Anyway, enough said. Perhaps you ought to look seriously at the cracks in your own industry before trying to fix ones in another. People who live in glass houses and all that.

Of course if you need assistance with implementing these wonderful strategies from aviation then you can always pm me

By the way just as a point worthy of note. The article you link to (you're not cliff are you?) says
Unless significant
changes are made to improve the nearly
flat accident rate, by 2010 there could be
an average of one airline accident per
Well it is in fact 2010, and I appreciate I may not have my ear close enough to the ground in my own industry, but I don't think we are having on 'average' one airline accident per week. Mind you as I have experienced for years it is only such alarmist BS that the magazines deem fit to print.

Last edited by Gentleman Jim; 22nd Jul 2010 at 08:37.
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Old 22nd Jul 2010, 11:16
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Well put and heartily agree GJ.

It appears common to me, that management in the oil industry is "Testosterone led", and that there is very little (if any) inter company initiatives wrt safety. Why, because they are so bound up in their corporate competitiveness, that it is a complete anathema for them to consider asking a competitor for help, or to share something that their industry as a whole could benefit from.

Witness the BP leak in the Gulf, first oil company on scene stated "Well we wouldn't have done it like that" - just says it all really.

Fortunately commercial aviation takes a more mature view, and Safety Information Exchange (SIE) and many other initiatives, is alive and well, and benefiting many companies and individuals. Blatant plug for the UKFSC by the way.

No doubt the oil industry is a high risk industry, that requires its own unique ways of solving its problems. But it is a mistake for that industry to think that just because they have come up with a "Killer App", that it uniformly reads across to many other risk industries.

Anyway, back to the day job, - "People Centric Safety Management"

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Old 22nd Jul 2010, 12:14
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'Gentlemen' Jim
Shell misManagement, it is awfully rude to play with names to gain a particular effect is it not?

‘safety is embedded’. Do you not mean ‘unconscious’?
I believe that is a misquote, and no I wrote 'embedded' and mean 'embedded.

You quote a number of incidents and yet with 17 Million air movements a year you would have us believe we have a major problem. We had a major problem a long time ago and we addressed it. The major problem was made worse by self righteous attitudes and a belief that 'my way is the only possible correct way of doing something', a little bit akin to the attitudes and beliefs you display in your posts SM. As you do not appear to have addressed anything I actually said in my post then the 'reams and reams' fell on deaf ears, but that is clearly only to be expected.

Please be happy and content with your zealous support of the Shell Safety System but it is very fallible believe me, and as for this

Shell Alaska’s VP, told the BBC: "The Gulf of Mexico may have been a wake-up call for some, but not for Shell."
That is not only one of the most crass bits of commercial point scoring but also indicates an over-confident and therefore dangerous approach to the whole issue of safety.

I could go on, but you won't read it, answer it or consider it, another major trait in those whose safety systems ultimately fail, often with tragic results.

The author of the article you linked to may well have won awards, and I am happy for him, but the awards were certainly not for the accuracy of his scaremongering predictions were they.

So, back to Shell La La land, and when you have your next major incident perhaps you can come on here and explain why your 'safety case' failed.
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Old 22nd Jul 2010, 12:23
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Two points, please, ladies and gents -

(a) let's not push the bounds of polite discussion TOO much lest censure be invoked

(b) some folk stir the pot a tad to get reactions. We have a number of such folk within the PPRuNe family. Best not to rise too much to the lure.
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Old 22nd Jul 2010, 12:28
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Fair Point John.
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