The Red Arrows reach for the sky for Error Management - Baines Simmons
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The Red Arrows reach for the sky for Error Management

A team from Baines Simmons and Royal Air Force Flight Safety (RAFFS) visited the world’s leading aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, to conduct training and consultancy services.

This formed part of the Royal Air Forces’ programme to introduce the Aviation Error Management System (AEMS), and to assist the famous ‘Reds’ in adopting the ‘Four World’ model of Error Management. The additional work followed an Error Management Diagnostic (EMD) that Baines Simmons conducted in 2010, and has been designed to build on the already excellent safety culture established within the organisation.

 News  The Red Arrows

The AEMS Team: Sqn Ldr Jim Creber, WO1 Martyn Bayley, Steve Harriss, Flt Sgt Steve Coleman, CT Matt Whitehead, CT Steve Peers

The ‘Four World’ model extends Error Management from a purely maintenance-based approach, which has been embedded within all parts of the RAF. It takes a more holistic approach to the management of hazards identified through the Error Management System and thus reduces risk. The Red Arrows team is only the second organisation to have adopted the ‘Four World’ approach although it is scheduled to be widened to all parts of the RAF over the next year.

The AEMS approach now covers Operations, Maintenance, Air Traffic Control and Direct Support Services.

Senior Consultant and Project Lead, Steve Harriss said “The RAF has truly embraced Error Management and has started to see significant wins through the excellent work it has done within maintenance. Since adopting Error Management, the situation has evolved from one where the RAF was only receiving approximately 10 reports a year through existing confidential reporting systems to in excess of 1,000 in the space of 12 months. This has provided quantitative evidence of the real risks within the system. The AEMS approach is a natural extension of the system and is driven by the need to adopt a more holistic approach to risk management. The adoption of the ‘Four World’ model is helping the RAF adopt all of the required tools necessary to maximise the effectiveness of their Safety Management Systems (SMS). Baines Simmons is extremely proud to be a part of this project”

The Baines Simmons team provided training in Event Investigation, Advanced Error Management and reviewing the output of Investigations to a wide range of personnel from the Red Arrows including pilots and support personnel. Support and advice in the establishment of the systems and process necessary to manage and sustain the cultural change required to maximise the opportunity for success was also given to the management team.

Squadron Leader Jim Creber from RAF Flight Safety said “Cultural change is never delivered without a degree of pain and, for the RAF, the adoption of Error Management principles has seen its fair share. However, despite this pain, Error Management is becoming integral to how the RAF does business, not only in the engineering world but across the whole of the Air Safety community. AEMS is giving us an ever clearer view of the risks we carry and a means for effectively prioritising those issues; AEMS represents a core initiative in the establishment of an effective SMS across the RAF. Delivery of AEMS has been, and continues to be, a highly dynamic activity that demands total flexibility, to this end we have worked very closely with Baines Simmons. The company has consistently proved a very supportive partner, always listening to our concerns and seeking to understand our specific needs. This involvement has enabled us to deliver the foundations on which the RAF AEMS programme will grow from strength to strength, as Error Management strategies are spread across the Defence aviation environment under the guidance of the Military Aviation Authority (MAA).”

A team from Baines Simmons and RAF Flight Safety are now engaged in a series of planned visits to all units engaged within the Error Management programme to deliver Advanced Error Management training and consultancy to ensure sustainability of the programme.