Reducing Risk While Improving Productivity: Aviation Safety Lessons Learned
Speaker: Christopher Hart, National Transportation Safety Board
Series: MAE Departmental Seminars
Location: Bowen Hall Room 222
Date/Time: Friday, March 30, 2012, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Reducing Risk While Improving Productivity in Complex Industries The commercial aviation system is comprised of a complex array of subsystems that must work together effectively in order for the entire system to perform successfully. To the extent the subsystems are coupled, changes in any one subsystem can affect some or all of the other subsystems. System Think refers to an awareness of the impacts throughout a system of changes in any of its subsystems. In its continuing endeavor to improve safety, the industry is using a collaborative approach to accomplish System Think bringing all of the key parts of the industry to the table together to work in a collaborative manner to identify and address potential safety concerns. The collaborative approach resulted in a 65% reduction in the fatal accident rate in only 10 years. It also demonstrated that, contrary to conventional wisdom that safety improvements usually decrease productivity, safety improvements that result from a collaborative approach can simultaneously improve productivity. This presentation describes the why collaborative process has been so successful and what obstacles were overcome to implement it, and presents the query of whether the process could help other potentially hazardous industries such as nuclear power, chemical manufacturing, petroleum exploring and refining, and healthcare, to name a few manage their safety risks more efficiently and effectively.
Christopher A. Hart is the Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, having been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009. The NTSB investigates major transportation accidents in all modes of transportation, determines probable cause, and makes recommendations in an effort to prevent recurrences. He was previously a Member of the NTSB in 1990, having been nominated by (the first) President Bush. Mr. Harts previous positions have included: Deputy Director, Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Assistant Administrator for System Safety, Federal Aviation Administration, Deputy Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Deputy Assistant General Counsel to the Department of Transportation, Managing partner of Hart & Chavers, a Washington, D.C., law firm, and Attorney with the Air Transport Association. Mr. Hart has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Masters Degree (magna cum laude) in Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, and he is a pilot with commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings.