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Accidents and incidents in aviation have been used to enhance aviation safety. Safety information is a main source for the permanent enhancement of safety in aviation, but there are many risks to its inappropriate use. As a result, safety information is very sensitive and needs special protection.

The information is not to be put into the public domain or to be used against the personnel involved.

Voluntary reporting system are different than those that are mandatory, they shall contain safety concerns, issues or even hazards, connected with the suggestions as to how this can be avoided in the future. ICAO states that there should be a voluntary reporting system established and it shall be non-punitive.

IFATCA Policy is:

IFATCA’s definition of Just Culture is “a culture in which front line operators and others are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them which are commensurate with their experience and training, but where gross negligence, wilful violations and destructive acts are not tolerated”.

Those Member Associations under national legal frameworks where mandatory and/or voluntary incident reporting systems are not yet compulsory, are encouraged to create one provided it is based on confidential reporting; the reported data shall be protected and never be used against the reporting person nor any other person mentioned in the report and it is compliant with ICAO Doc 9859 – Safety Management Manual, 4th Ed. (2018).

Just Culture shall be in the service of safety and by no ways a means of social control or disciplinary mechanism.

IFATCA shall encourage Member Associations to urge their aviation organisations to develop a Just Culture Policy as part of a mature safety culture. This policy, supported by the highest organisational level and visibly endorsed by workforce level, should include the following elements:

  • Just Culture principles ensuring fair treatment of staff at all levels (managers and employees)
  • Recognition of staff at all levels for the role they play in delivering a safe service.
  • Compromise to provide with the appropriate tools, training and procedures required to perform their job and guaranteeing that they would not be put in situations where safety is compromised because of organisational factors. Anyhow, systemic factors outside the scope of individuals in case of unwanted outcomes are to be considered.
  • Means to constantly measure maturity and effectiveness of Just Culture within the organisation.

Any incident reporting system shall be based on the following principles:

a) Cooperation: with all those having a legitimate and appropriate interest

b) Dissemination: distribution of safety-related data to all those with appropriate interest.

c) Confidentiality: for the whole procedure, guaranteed by law.

d) Protection: for those involved or mentioned in the report, the provision of which be within the remit of an independent body.

e) Trust and mutual respect.

Air Navigation Service Providers and their respective employee groups shall develop mechanisms that foster an environment of trust and mutual respect in order to improve the capability to compile, assess and disseminate safety-related information with each other, as well as with other national and international aviation organizations.

See: WP 159 – Istanbul 2007, WP 156 – Kathmandu 2012, Resolutions C10, C11, C12, C13, C14 and C15 – WP 157 – Accra 2018, Resolution C20 – WP 77 – Virtual 2022

See also: WP 167 – Hong Kong 2004, WP 168 – Hong Kong 2004, WP 167 – Geneva 2001

See also: LM 7.2.4 – Protection of Identity, and
LM 7.2.6 – Use of Recorded Data


Last Update: September 26, 2022  

November 3, 2019   635   Jean-Francois Lepage    LM    

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