The Flight Safety Foundation has been collecting data on accidents and incidents in the onshore resource sector and since 2007 we have seen over 176 accidents with 299 fatalities. Occasionally it is difficult to clearly determine if an accident during charter operations is directly associated with the resource sector and I suspect that the true number is probably higher. Unlike the scheduled passenger operations, there is no database of hours flown to normalize this accident data into a rate per hours or departures. However, this is 299 people who will not be home for dinner with their families and it is the incentive for us to continue to work harder in making aviation activities in the sector safer and stronger.
Each quarter, our office collates all the public data we can find on accidents and serious incidents from a range of sources and sorts this into types of operations, activities and aircraft, this provides our member organizations with a summary report showing how the onshore resource sector is performing. We call this our World Wide Accident Summary or WWAS. Through this data collection and analysis we hope to learn more on trends and accident factors to feed back to industry and improve the safety record.
Resource companies are very proactive in risk management and it was interesting to see that they view an aviation accident as one of the biggest risks in their operations; but it makes sense. To have multiple fatalities in a single event is catastrophic to an organization, not only financial losses but also the great impact on production and organizational reputation. We would all be aware of the Sundance Resources accident in the Congo and the consequences of this tragic event.
One of the features of the BARS Program is the way the Operators are asked to use tools to identify and manage their risks. Hazard reporting, risk assessment tools, incident reporting and investigation, safety performance indicators and safety audit programs are all tools that when carried out effectively will give the Operator a clear insight into their safety performance. Risk Management should not be seen purely as a cost. It may well identify areas where you can accept a higher level of risk if the controls and defences around your operations are strong. Potentially this can provide more opportunity and even a financial benefit.
I am a firm believer in the value of auditing and the data that can be derived from effective audits. Every safety audit finding is a potential latent accident causal factor or an opportunity for improvement. So do your audits often and rigorously and learn from the results. Don't let it be a wasted opportunity.