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Subject:Re: Procedures in real time From:Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net> To:Jan Cohen <najnehoc -at- yahoo -dot- com> Date:Thu, 17 Jun 2010 22:07:33 -0400
Jan Cohen wrote:
> As for the incident with the aircraft door, that one's a bit simpler to crack.
> I parked fighter jets during my time in the Air Force and if one
> written in stone it was the need to chock the aircraft tires and insert
> the locking pins ...
In some situations safety comes from training (and testing and
retraining). In others it's from individual responsibility, like
requiring the man who packs parachutes to jump a random 'chute pulled
from the rack. Or like my Uncle Ernie (now dead over 30 years) who would
have been fired on the spot at Raytheon if one of the compressed-gas
cylinders that was checked out to him were ever found in improper
configuration. Proper configuration (and this is true today) is that the
cylinder is chained to the wall (or otherwise secured safely upright) or
has its protective hood screwed on tightly.
When I'm shopping, Ernie and I check out the helium-balloon cylinders at
the grocery store, and confront the store's manager if they're not in
proper configuration. (Ernie's still unavoidably domiciled in my brain.)
A key part of safety and safety training is the attitude of management.
If management have isolated themselves from daily operation, or if they
give a silent nod to unsafe methods, then the tech writer, the trainer
and the safety engineer might as well take a nap, for all the good
they'll be able to accomplish.
Ultimately, safe operations arise from historical casualties and a
proper attitude towards learning from them. Someone has to be ripped
apart or at least nearly killed, or an aircraft lost, before the
training manual for aircraft gets a standard procedure for chocking the
wheels. Far earlier, Sir Humphrey Davy demonstrated that carbon monoxide
was poisonous by breathing it. He nearly died. Sailors learned how to
return to port by avoiding the attitudes of those who were lost
overboard. And how do we know which wild mushrooms are poisonous?
The prepared mind, though, is crucial. The manager who sees an accident
as, "We screwed up. Let's not repeat the mistake," creates a far
different training manual from the manager who sees accidents as, "It
was the hand of fate, with nothing we could do."
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