INDUSTRY experts posit that any chief executive who hinders or tries to cripple the Quality Assurance system within the organization is heading towards unmitigated catastrophe and have called for the protection of Quality Assurance managers to ensure the integrity within a safety critical environment like aviation.
National coordinator State Safety program, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Etete Ifeanyi who accentuated the role of the Quality assurance Manager within an organization stressed that their jobs need to be protected and they needed to be given room to work if the organization wants to witness fewer accidents.
Dr. Ifeanyi who was reacting to questions at a panel discussion at the just concluded LAAC/AIB Conference: Preventing Human Factors in Air Accident Investigations held at the weekend in Sheraton Hotels and suites also stated that it is an anomaly watching Chief executives of organizations running around the regulatory agency seeking approvals
According to him, when that happens too frequently, then there is something amiss in the organization and calls for further scrutiny.
President Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ART), Dr. Gabriel Olowo had earlier thrown a question to the panel asking if the Quality Assurance Manager of the airline be paid by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) so he can adequately monitor the airline for the regulator.
Reacting to the issue thrown up by the ART President, Dr. Ifeanyi said If the CAA pays the quality assurance manager, he (QM) may decide not to work in that place stating that it is the responsibility of the CAA to protect the job of the quality assurance manager as the QM is not suppose to be a glorified messengers doing whatever he is asked by his CEO as his functions go deeper.
“Any CEO that would not allow his or her own personnel within the quality assurance system to do his work, believe me that person is heading towards catastrophe, he may be picking on little gains that he believes are there when he forces the person to do what is not right, that has an effect.”
Ifeanyi said,” Quality Management must be an independent system that can report directly to the CEO and the CEO should also be part of that quality assurance system. Why will he report to the CEO, because maybe director of operations, maintenance they don’t want any kind of interference and then it expends on the culture in that organization. What the CAA does is to audit what the quality assurance system has already audited that is what our job is supposed to be because he or she is the eye of the CAA within that organization.
“The quality assurance system in any organization should cover each and every department in every unit of that organization and the basic function of the quality assurance system is the adequacy of the procedures and policies and compliance with the regulatory requirement to conformance with the procedures.
“These management systems are supposed to be independent. This is my personal opinion, if I continually see CEO running around the NCAA looking for approval then something is wrong in his organization, that is a fact because of you are allowing your personnel to do what they need to do then you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Chiming in on the conversation earlier, the representative of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Akin George posited that the efficacy of the quality assurance manager depends on the system run by the organization which may make or mar it so to speak.
He said, “One of the key items that will be looked for in human factor is the culture of the organization and the regulator but within the organization itself, if you have a culture where communication is open where there is respect between the employee and employer then it is easier for both the organization and personnel to communicate back and forth.
“ You are right to say the quality assurance manager knows where his bread is buttered but if he knows that come rain, come shine he knows will get what is due to him, that he is respected in the role he plays within the organization, then that works.
“However like you said we need to go the next step of the regulator who has oversight of the organization, the question we now ask is that job being done? How often does the regulator come to see what is being done with the operator? I know things have improved”
According to Engineer Babanya Abdullahi of the AIB, there is no management system that is infallible and since humans are predominantly in charge of the system.
He said,” I want to dwell on the fact that there is no management system that is perfect and that to err is human and human beings will always remain human beings no matter what you do, no matter the preventive measures you put in place that human will always be human and they are unpredictable. All you need to do is change certain conditions around him and the human will not betray you.
He however proposed,”In the selection of personnel that will carry out whatever activity we want to assign to them to do, we want to be sure we chose the right people, provide them with the right training at the right time, ensure we provide good working condition, motivate them as much as you can and then provide the appropriate equipment for them to handle the task, I think if we are able to do so we will be able to reduce the human factor.”
Director General of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu who gave the key note address earlier charged the aviation industry to reject the tag of being a reactive people and entrench proactiveness so as not allow existing latent conditions associated with human errors to precipitate into incidents and accidents.
Captain Nuhu said,”every aviation accident is a global tragedy and the industry, through the accident investigative authorities must be determined to unravel the probable causes, contributory factors and develop appropriate Safety Recommendations that are based on safety risk assessments and considerable cost-effectiveness and the regulatory authorities must enforce their implementation by certified entities and licensed personnel to prevent reoccurrence and improve safety records