Speaking recently at the Flight Safety Foundation’s Newsmaker Breakfast at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta announced the next step in the FAA’s continuing evolution of working with those it regulates. The FAA developed the new Compliance Philosophy to enhance our ability to find safety problems before they result in an incident or accident, use the best tools to fix those problems, and then monitor the situation to ensure that no new problems develop. This approach recognizes that most operators comply with the rules and use Safety Management Systems to identify hazards. They then assess the risks from those hazards, and put measures in place to mitigate the risks.
The Compliance Philosophy challenges the status quo. The FAA wants safe operators, not operators who inadvertently make a mistake and then hide it because they’re afraid they will be punished. Based on cooperation and trust, it encourages an open and transparent exchange of information and data between the FAA and industry. The Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) successfully used this approach to reduce the risk in U.S. commercial aviation by 83 percent over 10 years.
“The FAA’s Compliance Philosophy helps the FAA and industry to use critical thinking to work smarter and more efficiently to get to the bottom of potential safety problems,” said Huerta. “It's about finding a problem, fixing a problem, and making sure it stays fixed."
Huerta stressed that the FAA will continue to have zero tolerance for intentional reckless behavior, inappropriate risk-taking, repeat failures, falsification, failure to fulfill commitments, or deviation from regulatory standards. The FAA will continue to vigorously pursue enforcement action in these circumstances.