The aviation safety action program : assessment of the threat and error management model for improving the quantity and quality of reported information
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The Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) is a voluntary, non-jeopardy reporting program supported by commercial airlines. The program provides pilots with a way to report unsafe occurrences, including their own errors, without risk of punitive action on the part of the airlines or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Through a set of on-site visits to airlines with ASAP programs, deficiencies were identified in the way airlines collect ASAP reports from pilots. It was concluded that these deficiencies might be limiting the ability of airlines to identify hazards contributing to reported safety events. The purpose of this research was to determine if the use of an ASAP reporting form based on a human factors model, referred to as the Threat and Error Management (TEM) model, would result in pilots providing a larger quantity and higher quality of information as compared to information provided by pilots using a standard ASAP reporting form. The TEM model provides a framework for a taxonomy that includes factors related to safety events pilots encounter, behaviors and errors they make, and threats associated with the complexities of their operational environment. A comparison of reports collected using the TEM Reporting Form and a standard reporting form demonstrated that narrative descriptions provided by pilots using the TEM Reporting Form included both a larger quantity and higher quality of information. Quantity of information was measured by comparing the average word count of the narrative descriptions. Quality of information was measured by comparing the discriminatory power of the words in the narrative descriptions and the extent to which the narrative descriptions from the two sets of reports contributed to a set of latent concepts. The findings suggest that the TEM Reporting Form can help pilots provide longer descriptions, more relevant information related to safety hazards, and expand on concepts that contribute to reported safety events. The use of the TEM Reporting Form for the collection of ASAP reports should be considered by airlines as a preferred collection method for improving the quantity and quality of information reported by pilots through ASAP programs.