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Improve targeting and timeliness of air and marine safety

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Improve targeting and timeliness of air and marine safety investigations.
(Contributing division: Australian Transport Safety Bureau)
Categorisation of aviation occurrences is carefully reviewed, backlog of older aviation and marine investigations is reduced, and increased analysis of aviation safety data trends. Substantially achieved

Key achievements

In 2002-03 the ATSB reduced its aviation investigation report processing times and backlog, increased its marine report output, introduced an abbreviated format for less significant marine reports, and generated three well-received reports on aviation safety data trends. These achievements are reported below.

Air investigations

In 2002-03, the ATSB released 78 aviation investigation reports with a median time from occurrence date to report release of 279 days, down from 317 days the previous year. The backlog of uncompleted investigation reports declined from about 90 during 2001-02 to 66 as at 30 June 2003, and the number of investigations more than 12 months old declined slightly from 16 to 14.

This improvement reflects the reduction in investigations initiated. Also, categorisation has been simplified, and investigation processes now feature earlier analysis phases and greater direct team leader involvement.

Based on analysis of aviation data trends, an air safety study was drafted on runway incursions, and final safety studies were published on birdstrikes, mandatory broadcast zones and fuel starvation. The reports were well received and attracted constructive industry comment.

The report on birdstrikes prompted several interested parties to form a committee to promote best practice measures in reducing birdstrike incidents. The ATSB has followed up this report, commissioning a series of bird control information sheets to assist smaller aerodromes control problem species.

The ATSB's air safety activities attracted 26 compliments and there was one complaint involving a decision not to attend an accident site. The Ansett 767 Maintenance Investigation Report has received considerable Australian and international recognition from aviation stakeholders and has been nominated for an international air safety award.

Marine investigations and safety activity

In 2002-03 the ATSB's Marine Investigation Unit undertook 15 new investigations, of which 13 were in progress at 30 June 2003. The backlog of 19 uncompleted marine investigation reports as at 30 June was similar to the previous year.

The ATSB released 13 marine investigation reports in 2002-03, with a median completion time of 66.5 weeks, 10 weeks less than for the previous year. Seven of those reports were commenced in 2000-01, five in 2001-02 and one in 2002-03. Four further reports had reached the final stages of preparation by the end of 2002-03.

While the number of reports released improved markedly from six to 13 the median completion time for these reports was greater than targeted. Competing priorities that affected report completion times included:

  • the utilisation of marine investigation capacity for rail accident investigations
  • work on the transport safety investigation legislation-the Diploma of Transport Safety Investigation, the Certificate in Assessment and Workplace Training-and on a new marine incident database.

Future completion times will benefit from the marine unit introducing an abbreviated report format for investigations that are less significant. Incident reports can be found at www.atsb.gov.au

The unit maintained its proactive safety activities including: chairing the Marine Accident Investigators International Forum in Germany; participation in a working group at the 2003 meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Flag State Implementation Sub-committee; and contributing to a number of forums in Australia.

Significant international outcomes included support for voyage data recorders in accident investigations, appreciation of work done by Australia for the electronic input of casualty data into the International Maritime Organization database, and investigator training.

The ATSB Marine Unit received eight compliments including one from the World Maritime University in Sweden citing the excellence of ATSB's casualty and incident reports. There were no complaints.

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