Human factors and safety culture should be put at the heart of the ATM system

Human factors and a just culture have a key role to play in improving the safety of Europes future air traffic management system and should be fully integrated into the Single European Sky, according to a major conference on Safety and Human Performance held in Brussels on 2 and 3 February.
The Conference, organised jointly by EUROCONTROL and the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), focused on how human factors influence and can improve safety. It underlined that human factors and competence of staff working in air traffic management (ATM) are at the heart of the ATM industry and are essential to delivering the best safety performance Safety and human performance are pivotal features in every project we undertake, said David McMillan. The main goal of both EUROCONTROL and ETF is to support and create an effective, efficient, safe ATM system; a system that can not only function well but one that can also promote organisational objectives and staff needs. Discussions during the conference included topics such as the growing automation of ATC, fatigue, resource management, a safety culture, regulation and licensing and competency requirements as well as training of ATM staff. As human factors are central to safety, the meeting concluded that ongoing social dialogue is essential. Human factors should be integrated into all the work being done on the Single European Sky Legislation, as well as in the developments in SESAR. In this regard, harmonised competency requirements and training are needed across Europe. A good safety culture as well as a dialogue between all parties involved is seen as essential. As a result, EUROCONTROL and ETF have agreed to combine forces to prioritise their work on Safety and Human Performance. Safety is a real priority. There is a strong personnel commitment to safety and we cannot split the working arrangements and the safety issues. Safety requires permanent information and training to keep high the awareness of the staff, the management, the users and the public, said François Ballestero, ETF Civil Aviation Political Secretary.
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