Coming from a strictly Quality Assurance, QA, background, both education and vocation, I have been engrained with the concept of “OBJECTIVITY!” All analysis and action must be based on DATA and ACCEPT/REJECT criteria. When I was first introduced to the process of Risk Assessment, RA, using a risk matrix, my reaction was, “Are you kidding me?” The Risk Assessment was mostly based on OPINION and SUBJECTIVITY of the team conducting the Risk Assessment session. The result of the Risk Assessment was a numerical RISK RATING based on the OPINION of a safety committee. Depending on the composition of the Risk TEAM, the Risk Rating can change to meet the objective of the company. I say that this process itself is a “RISK” to SAFETY! Hey, at least the process is using the QA concept of TEAMING!
|Risk Assessments are Subjective|
In 2003, Sol and I were contracted by NASA at Kennedy Space Center to Design, Develop and Deploy Quality Assurance Training for all NASA Safety and Mission Assurance personnel. This was the first time I was introduced to the NASA Goddard Risk Program.
|Dennis and Sol Taboada Contracted by NASA at Kennedy Space Center|
The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Risk Assessment Tool is based on the Quality Assurance concept known a Failure Mode, Effects, and Critical Analysis, (FMECA). FMECA was originally developed in the 1940s by the U.S military, which published MIL–P–1629 in 1949. By the early 1960s, contractors for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were using variations of FMECA under its Risk Assessment Program.
Where is our DATA for calculation coming from?
In Aviation Risk Management, we are required to have a “HAZARD REGISTER” in which we categorize the Hazards and Incidents. By simple modification of the Hazard Register categorization cells to include a probability calculation, we can now obtain objective probability numbers that can be introduced into our every day Risk Assessments through a modified Risk Matrix. Let’s face it, We use the Risk Matrix to create our Safety Risk Profile that drive our Safety Goals and Objectives. Then why can’t we use the Hazard Registry to provide Quantifiable information for our Risk Matrix? At least this would make the PROBABILTY side of the RISK MATRIX more OBJECTIVE. The SEVERITY side can also use the “MODE” and “EFFECT” components of the FMECA to quantify the “Effects” of an incident or hazard based on history.
Yes I know this is going to raise questions in the AVIATION Safety world! Why can’t we bring together the science of Quality Assurance into the world of Safety Management Systems to provide better “Processes” that can actually make Aviation Safer and more efficient? Without the Voodoo!
Dennis Taboada, M.eng.,CQE,CQM
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