Air traffic controllers are encouraged to report all incidents with a view to learning lessons for the whole sector and thereby further increasing aviation safety. In order to encourage incident reporting, it is important, in the framework of a Just Culture, that incident reporters are protected from prosecution. Gross negligence or willful omissions are of course not covered by that rule.
The Just Culture is clearly bearing fruit within skeyes. This culture of reporting the slightest incident has led to a continuous improvement of procedures and processes which has resulted in a notable and noticeable reduction in the number of serious incidents and thus a significant improvement in aviation safety.
Johan Decuyper, CEO skeyes:
“skeyes has been applying Just Culture in its operations for many years. It was at the request of skeyes that the principle was incorporated earlier into legislation. In this way, air traffic controllers are protected in performing their jobs. That certainty prevents them from making decisions with the idea that they can be prosecuted for this or that action. On the other hand, the information they provide on incidents they report is invaluable for air traffic safety. That information must not go to waste.”
The proposal for the creation of a Just Culture Platform also came from skeyes. It includes staff members of the AAIU(Be) (the cell that investigates aviation incidents) and of the Belgian Civil Aviation Authority, the contact magistrate of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Safety Managers of both the Ministry of Defence, skeyes, the Belgian airports and aviation operators. Air traffic controllers and air navigation service technicians and professional pilots also delegate representatives to the Platform.
In the Platform, experts from the sector, together with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, will thoroughly discuss the incidents and assess them against the Just Culture principle. In this way, the Public Prosecutor’s Office acquires practical insights that can help it when it comes to making judgements in this extremely complex matter.
In order to guarantee the complete objectivity and independence of Justice, all incidents are discussed anonymously. All members of the Platform are also bound by secrecy concerning the discussions within the body.
“skeyes sees the establishment of the Platform as an anchoring of the practice as it has been applied for many years and an important development in Just Culture, following the legalisation of its principle.”