Safety – A Back to Basics Approach
February 26, 2019
Commitment. Priority. Culture. These are all words used to define our view of safety.
Early on in the process of building our new United, establishing common safety systems was a necessary step before the airline was issued a single operating certificate. Our safety, security and many regulatory policies and procedures were harmonized. However once this was accomplished, we continued to operate separately; this past October we became a single Flight Attendant work force under a common scheduling platform with a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Early on in October of 2018, we began working side by side on the aircraft. Despite the common policies and procedures, there were differences in how these were interpreted and applied in the work place. It was clearly seen by an increase of safety reports and questions. Many of which requested clarification of regulatory requirements. This indicated that we weren’t all on the same page in how we were interpreting the policy and procedures.
As Flight Attendants, we are identified as Safety Professionals and First Responders and are proud of the recognition that comes with that identification. As we work to maintain this recognition, we must always, not only talk the talk but walk the walk. We ensure regulatory and SOP compliance on our aircraft by passengers. With that said, we also have a professional obligation to SOP and regulatory compliance. The Federal Air Regulations and Safety Policies are in place to ensure the safety of the flight for crew and passengers alike. As safety professionals we are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with regulation, SOP, policy and procedure for everyone’s wellbeing.
As those tasked with ensuring compliance, we have a group who ensures our compliance. Those groups determine when there is a need for increased vigilance in order to maintain an assurance of regulatory compliance. We should expect that any potential violations will be investigated and blatant disregard of regulations and policies in the performance of our duties will likely result in being held accountable by either the company or FAA. There are specific FAR violations for which a Flight Attendant can be personally fined. When fines are levied they must be paid before one is permitted to flight duty and may, secondarily, result in company discipline. One such example is not being in your assigned jumpseat for taxi, take-off and landing when not performing safety related duties.
Our ultimate success on the aircraft, in any situation, including emergency situations, is based on our ability to come together and work cohesively as a single team. In order to respond effectively, we need to have a common expectation and understanding that each of us is not only where we are expected to be by regulation but that we are prepared to meet whatever challenge we must face using a standard set of safety principles, a common safety language
In establishing this rapport with individuals we may have only just met for the first time, a commitment to understanding and applying a standard set of policies and procedures is essential. This is the foundation of a safety culture, making safety a priority starting with this commitment to a foundational set of basic principles.
Over the course of the next several weeks, AFA and Inflight Safety will be communicating broadly on a variety of topics with the intent of a returning our focus to safety. We seek to reinforce its importance as our number one priority in everything we do. Having said this, let’s all work to get Back to Basics.