I feel that good communication is important in every industry. In aircraft maintenance engineering, it is vital. It is the responsibility of every aviation organization to proactively create safety nets that would prevent employees from becoming a contributing link to the chain of communication problems that could lead into accidents, and it is the responsibility for the engineers to repair the planes. In order to maintain a good relationship between the organization and the engineers, I feel that organisations have to encourage their employees (both financially and with career incentives), and take notice of problems that their engineers encounter, attempting to learn from these and make changes where necessary or possible.
However, there is a negative side, the organisation may exert pressure on its engineers to get work done within certain timescales and within certain budgets. At times, individuals may feel that these conflict with their ability to sustain the quality of their work. These organisational stresses may lead to problems of poor industrial relations, high turnover of staff, increased absenteeism, and most importantly for the aviation industry, more incidents and accidents due to human error. Motivation is not the only thing that an organization have to take into consideration as there are also some other aspects such as what the engineer is good at, his or her limitations and also their safety.Just as certain mechanical components used in aircraft maintenance engineering have limitations, engineers themselves have certain capabilities and limitations that must be considered when looking at the maintenance engineering ‘system’.
For instance, rivets used to attach aluminium skin to a fuselage can withstand forces that act to pull them apart. It is clear that that these rivets will eventually fail if enough force is applied to them. While the precise range of human capabilities and limitations might not be as well-defined as the performance range of mechanical or electrical components, the same principles apply in that human performance is likely to degrade and eventually ‘fail’ under certain conditions (e.g. stress).
Mechanical components in aircraft can, on occasion, suffer catastrophic failures. Man, can also fail to function properly in certain situations. Physically, humans become fatigued, are affected by the cold, can break bones in workplace accidents, etc. Mentally, humans can make errors, have limited perceptual powers, can exhibit poor judgement due to lack of skills and knowledge, etc.
In addition, unlike mechanical components, human performance is also affected by social and emotional factors. Therefore failure by aircraft maintenance engineers can also be to the detriment of aircraft safety.The aircraft engineer is the central part of the aircraft maintenance system. It is therefore very useful to have an understanding of how various parts of his body and mental processes function and how performance limitations can influence his effectiveness at work.
A company should establish a “safety and quality policy” Thisshould be part of the Maintenance Organisation Exposition. The safety policy shoulddefine the senior management’s intentions in terms of commitment to ensuring thataircraft are returned to service after maintenance in a safe condition. An organisation should list (ideally in the MOE) the processes which contributetowards safety, including (i) quality processes, (ii) reporting scheme(s) for defects,hazards, safety concerns, occurrences, quality discrepancies, quality feedback,maintenance errors, poor maintenance data, poor procedures, poor work instructions,(iii) appropriate training (including human factors training), (iv) shift/task handoverprocedures (see Table 2). The organisation should state how it addresses, or plans toaddress, these issues.