UNDERSTANDING HUMAN ERRORS IN AIRCRAFT ACCIDENTS

Committing errors by man has a historical back­ground. The first ever error committed by man, perhaps, was Adam eating the apple in the Garden of Eden. He was then forced to look for a scapegoat and found one in Eve!!

INTRODUCTION

Committing errors by man has a historical back­ground. The first ever error committed by man, perhaps, was Adam eating the apple in the Garden of Eden. He was then forced to look for a scapegoat and found one in Eve!! Since then, whenever accidents have occurred, it was assumed that some man had committed an error and a scapegoat had to be found. From the time the Wright brothers took to air in 1903, aircraft have been involved in accidents. More often than not, the cause of the accident was attributed to the pilot essentially because there was no one else on whom the blame could be attached. This attitude stemmed from the belief that aviation as a skill was difficult to master or acquire. Further, it was the pilot who dared to go against the laws of nature, and in his quest to attain parity with the birds, was prone to committing errors.

PILOT ERROR

The term pilot error, as has been mentioned earlier, was derived from the belief that in an aircraft accident the only human who could cause a crash was the pilot. This belief gained momentum during the Battle of Britain when pilots in their exuberance beat up the homes of their girlfriends and crashed, or forgot to lower the undercarriage after executing victory rolls at hair- raising altitudes. With instances of ‘pilot errors showing an alarming rise, Air Marshal Dowding, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Fighter Command, Royal Air Force was compelled to issue instructions that pilots who behaved irrationally should be punished with the utmost severity. Indian Air Force inherited these instructions and has been following it most rigidly ever since.

It was in the late 1970s, after a thorough examination of aircraft accidents in the United States Air Force, that it came to be believed that aircraft accidents are caused because of failure of some human: it could be the designer who made a faulty design, a Met officer who did not appreciate the rapid changes in weather; the technician who overlooked an essential check, the Air Traffic Controller who gave incorrect instructions, or the pilot who failed to follow instructions. Lack of flying skills or judgments was other reasons attributed to the human. Hence from pilot error, the world of aviation moved to the era of human error.

HUMAN ERROR

Psychologists have assessed that the brain is one of the-most complex organs in the human body which, at times, defies logic. Prediction of human actions or reactions is, therefore, quite complex. It would, indeed, be a miracle if two humans were to react identically to a situation in identical conditions. Since the human brain is central to all acts of omission or commission by an individual, it stands to reason that the causal factors need to be studied in greater detail. Paradoxically, we tend to find a scapegoat rather than dig into the accident to realize the cause.

Lloyd and Tye in their book ‘Systematic Safety suggest that ‘an accident or serious incident is a systematic failure of the overall system. Or, as Professor KR And­rews of USA puts it, ‘Every accident is a failure of the organisation. Hence, the system or the organization itself needs to be investigated in an aircraft accident to determine probable failure zones. For example, a technician goes to the accounts section to collect his pay at 10 am. He must collect his pay for he has to proceed on leave next day at 5 am to attend to his ailing mother at his village. The accounts officer tells him to come back at 11 am because as per section orders no payment is to be made before this time. The airman gets back to his Squadron and is told to carry out Turn Around Servicing on an aircraft. His job entails tightening a nut in one of the flap connections. While tightening the nut, he frequently keeps glancing at his watch so as to be in time to collect his pay. In the bargain he cross-threads the nut, signs the Form 700(aircraft log book) and rushes to the Accounts Section. The aircraft gets airborne and the pilot is unable to lower flaps. He attempts a flapless landing but is unable to control approach speed adequately for a safe landing. The aircraft engages barrier and sustains damage. The verdict: the pilot erred in executing a safe flapless landing. After an in-depth analysis the errant nut, dislodged due to cross-threading, is located. Now the question is who is to blame? The pilot, the technician, the accounts officer or the system?

Errors are a part of human nature. It would be naive to think that we can produce a human, or condition a human who commits no errors. In activities connected with aviation there is a tendency to state that there is no room for error, or in other words ‘errors are forbidden’! Subconsciously, we tend to expect perfection from those who work intimately with aviation safety. A pilot is considered a hero in case he excels in a dog-fight with the enemy, but if there is a landing accident on his return, the pilot is invariably exposed to untold rebuke or reproof. This, in spite of the air traffic controller or the technician is found to have made a mistake. Many a time, a small molehill of an incident is turned into a mountain of an accident.

It is not being suggested that human errors are irrelevant to aircraft accidents. What is being brought out is that instead of homing on to an individual, it would be necessary in the best interest of flight safety, to determine the cause of the accident. If all evidence points towards willful negligence or disobedience of orders, then the individual must be held guilty and suitably punished. If not, then examine the organizational failure(s) that have led to the accident and attempt to eliminate the causes. The urge to blame a human, perhaps, could be an urge to find an outlet for our grief and dismay, to blame somebody. A better and scientific: approach would be to eliminate emotional reactions which attribute blame and responsibility on an individual. If we can establish a gap between the effects of errors and our emotional reactions, then errors would not appear to be a shameful disease but as normal consequences of the performance and character­istics of the human brain.

During a presentation on the Accident Prevention Programme it was amply brought out that errors are an integral part of life. Error is not only universal but is inevitable. Hence one cannot engage in human performance of any form without human error.

CONCLUSION

  Over the years, there has been an appreciable shift in the field of aviation to consider human factors more humanely. Understanding of the human mind has become an important facet in investigations; to accept certain accidents and incidents as an inherent inevitability of a human being. While cases of honest acceptance of failure or lapse by an individual must be handled with a degree of leniency, cases of willful failure must attract disciplinary actions, for in the words of Gen George S Patton, “There is only one kind of discipline – perfect discipline”.

  • By Air Cmde AD Chhibbar, AVSM (Retd)

TRAINING IS KEY TO SUCCESS

Most of us feel to train a person is waste of time because once trained , he will leave for better pastures taking advantage and quoting the training acquired. And isn’t it that we took him because he had the skill sets. Then why does he require training.

 

Training
Training is key to success

“Train a person such that he wants to leave ,

Treat him so well that he won’t “

Most of us feel to train a person is waste of time because once trained , he will leave for better pastures taking advantage and quoting the training acquired. And isn’t it that we took him because he had the skill sets. Then why does he require training.

Considering the above , let’s assume a scenario – all companies take required skill set people and take work out of them, but still some achieve or exceed targets and some do not. Why is it so, may be setting of targets was not accurate , or market conditions were not good and so on. But if you had ensured high motivation, and skill set training with changing needs to enhance skills customised to your product , of course you would have achieved the targets, made profits and given healthy increments and increased the happiness factor, nobody would have left the company as monetary and personal growth needs would have  also been met along with the targets.

Today the need to customised training is most essential for three reasons:-

a. Thorough knowledge and practical experience in the vertical working in.

b.  Training session increase bonding and hence team work.

c.  Knowledge is power , hence leads to thinking minds  implies innovations.

A trained skilled team of two is worth ten skilled untrained . So the secret of success lies in continuous training to upgrade knowledge and skill sets, and targets will be achieved.

By Sanjeev

ENTREPRENEURS – EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT DILEMMA

I have fewer money for salaries but employees do not come for free, should I, invest the reserves in business, or keep them for another day…..if I train my employees well, they will leave for greener pastures, and … so on are the many thoughts which cross through a young entrepreneurs mind. Is there an answer to these questions, can anyone help out.

ENTREPRENEURS

I have fewer money for salaries but employees do not come for free, should I, invest the reserves in business, or keep them for another day…..if I train my employees well,  they will leave for greener pastures, and … so on are the many thoughts which cross through a young entrepreneurs mind. Is there an answer to these questions, can anyone help out.

Well speaking from personal experience, humans need respect, space and leadership more than money they earn. I am sure most will put money first. But many have quit jobs because of bad bosses, bad environment at work place, no personal life…..but everyone looks at pay hike too, if skilled you do not give the hike someone else will. Then what to do.

So train a man such that he wants to leave,

Treat him so well that he doesn’t. “

Here comes the question, train to what extent. The answer is best possible extent. Because if:-

 

“You give a man a fish to eat, he will live for a day,

But if you teach him to catch fish, he will live for life.”

Translate this to your production, if you train a man well he would be useful to you for as long as your startup lasts.

Secondly  how to treat a person well so that he feels part of the process. Consider following :

  1. Respect an individual, he may or may not be of your intellect level, but he may stand with you when it matters. That slight respect has a large dividend pay back.
  2. Space is human need and it varies from time to time as situation arises. For example a person is finding it difficult to adjust to the office routine because he stays very far from office, allow him some time to ensure he comes on time, but do not cut his pay for that. Person needs leave for sister’s wedding, may be for 10 days, give it without questioning, he would stand by you without questioning day and night when required, because he knows if  a personal needs arises in future too, he will be heard and actioned. Someone is going through bad phase in life; praise him for still coming to office rather than checking on his performance during that period.
  3. Make team building a natural process then a forced one, let them cultivate and have their own ways of achieving the goals of company. Make them believe it’s one big family, and we all grow or perish together, leaving one or two bad fish, the rest will click.
  4. Lastly the leadership you provide is what matters. If you are like don’t worry what I do, but you do what I say, then it could be a disaster.  Rather if you show the path and walk along some distance with them, they will cover the full distance without you but for you.

Please add or contribute constructive Suggestions.

Experienced Brand ! Digital Marketing ! CRM Expert Plus Leadership ! Digital Space Guest Faculty

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Cdr Sanjeev Deshpande, (Retd)

 

 

REAL ESTATE Vs MOBILE APPLICATION

Trust and reliability every developer claims, however that’s in particular, what a customer is doubting. Reasons are many like commitment have been faltering very often.

1. Trust and reliability every developer claims, however that’s in particular, what a customer is doubting. Reasons are many like commitment have been faltering very often. A developer lately has aptly advertised, possession dates are like monsoons can’t be predicted accurately,  but this particular developer  says he shall give possessions on time – how -will he be able to, time will tell.  The point here is trust deficit is evident between concerned parties(developers and customers) and it needs to be bridged.

2. All conventional means to build trust have been tried however failed due to lack of commitments in past. For example  a pre-launch scheme well covered in media and lots of bookings picked up, but construction not commenced because approvals not in place. Another example a scheme sold to NRIs /investors, and 90% money demanded , where as in actual only 70% development on ground. And no penalty on late possession can be enforced as maximum money already paid  by customers.

3. So the need to get in transparency in dealing customers is  call of the day. The following factors are crucial to make this happen:-

a. live view 24×7 should be available for the project to monitor construction on ground

b. construction link plan should be displayed clearly.

c. cost sheet should be available live without hidden charges

d.  project brief, amenities,photo gallery, floor plans, location address must be specified.

e. Means to communicate between developer and customers should be multiple and available 24×7. eg skpe,toll free phone, whats up, sms,emails,live chat etc.

f. A project sanctions should be made available by govt authorities on their portals, and developer should be able to quote that for transparency.

4. So here comes the relevance, of the title of this article, a modern technology mobile application can provide the contents of  para 3 above  on your smart phones and the deficit in trust can be over come. Obviously for those developers who intent complete transparency in dealing with customers and are serious about bridging the gap that exists today between them and customers. In addition to the camera feeds , live communication and cost sheet issues a payment gateway on the mobile application will ensure credible transactions. The nature of humans is such that when they see a thing they believe, when they are able to communicate at all times they trust and if they pay for what they know is completed they are happy. Similarly a developer too would be happy if he gets the amount for what he has delivered thus far. In Pune only two developers have provided this trust multiplier(mobile application) to its customers and lots of goodwill gained through it.

Kumar Properties-Megapolis-Indian Navy-Digital Marketing Consultant-SSB coaching-Pune- Digital Marketing Trainer- Blogger -Author
Cdr Sanjeev Krishna Deshpande, Retd, I.N

 

 

Training and Development of Resource

Most of us feel to train a person is waste of time because once trained , he will leave for better pastures taking advantage and quoting the training acquired.

“Train a person such that he wants to leave ,

Treat him so well that he won’t “

Training and Development

Most of us feel to train a person is waste of time because once trained , he will leave for better pastures taking advantage and quoting the training acquired. And isn’t it that we took him because he had the skill sets. Then why does he require training.

Considering the above , let’s assume a scenario – all companies take required skill set people and take work out of them, but still some achieve or exceed targets and some do not. Why is it so, may be setting of targets was not accurate , or market conditions were not good and so on. But if you had ensured high motivation, and skill set training with changing needs to enhance skills customised to your product , of course you would have achieved the targets, made profits and given healthy increments and increased the happiness factor, nobody would have left the company as monetary and personal growth needs would have  also been met along with the targets.

Today the need to customised training is most essential for three reasons:-

a. Thorough knowledge and practical experience in the vertical working in.

b.  Training session increase bonding and hence team work.

c.  Knowledge is power , hence leads to thinking minds  implies innovations.

A trained skilled team of two is worth ten skilled untrained . So the secret of success lies in continuous training to upgrade knowledge and skill sets, and targets will be achieved.

Hence to sum up the above it is necessary to train and develop a team, even if skilled resources have been hired to enhance performance and productivity.

Constructive comments are most welcome from readers.

By Sanjeev

Indiannavy

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/learninganddevelopmentpune/

Make the Data Sing

Let me refer to it as breathing life into the data by using appropriate visualization tools . The visualization platform needs to be easy to use and have capability to query the data base and render the results as perceivable widget.

If you torture the data long enough, it will confess.

Ronald Coase, Economist

 

Hans Rosling was a physician, academic, statistician and public speaker who could make data sing….he recently passed away at the age of 68. He finds a place of honor in blog of Bill Gates [gatesnotes]. Hans could make a boring subject of statistics all the more interesting and literally could make the data sing and convey his thoughts effectively across his audience to drive home his efforts in overall improving global health awareness. I came to know about him in the TED talks gallery – he gave a mindblowingTED talk in2006 which has till date over 11 million views .His accomplishment includes building a software to highlight the statistical data for the masses to understand and take note. Taking this ahead, I borrow the slang –“ make data sing“ – Let me refer to it as breathing life into the data by using appropriate visualization tools . The visualization platform needs to be easy to use and have capability to query the data base and render the results as perceivable widget.

Telecom to manufacturing industries are moving towards big data and that spells more need for analytics to do number crunching and present the data to help the stakeholders to take informed decisions and further the business. One may argue about the following role.

  • User Experience/User Interface role – make present the data meaningfully, UX/UI team responsibility is to bring in soothing consistency that is acceptable to human eye. They lend the color,font, and spacing,padding and giving resting space for the eye.
  • Developer – uses the visualization tool / widgets and ensures the data fetching queries are optimized for performance.

Solution Provider – The technology Subject Matter Expert (SME)  breathes life into the data by identifying the correct Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that need to be rendered on the reports /dashboards to tell the story. Every wireframe design is a challenge for the solution provider to unlock the potential of the captured data.

  • Appropriate qualitative widgets to express the trend or behavior of the system being monitored and make sense of it for the user to take informed decisions
  • Presenting the data in sequential manner adds value and helps the user in better comprehension.
  • Visualization entails playing around with two types of data – the aggregated and the raw (near real time )
  • Improving data presentation through transparency.
  • Early warning on violations for proactive action
  • Data should be used for accountability of teams.
  • Connect the data point to present the true story.
  • The elevator pitch of visualization is to make the data sing and present the bigger picture.

 

The Business intelligence tool of choice should be so powerful that data set rendered on the report/dashboard has the potential to change the user mind set .Be able facilitate drawing inferences. We need to articulate ways visualization can aid in business analytics. Data driven or fact based decision making is enabled by  accessing the details  quickly thereby data visualization helps process data faster…also aka picture superiority effect

 

So if data is the new currency then visualization  makes  the data sing

 

[The views expressed in this article are my personal]

Lt Col Avadhut Deshpande, (Retd) Signals

A MULTI FACETED PROFESSIONAL – INDIAN NAVY OFFICER – FOR CORPORATES

This article is an attempt to introduce true capabilities of a naval officer, so that corporate world knows their true asset values to multifacet organisations, am writing this having served more than two decades in the Navy and six years in civil career.

Navy jobs(This article is an effort to introduce an Indian Navy officer to Head Honchos of corporate world, who often ask me what does an officer do in the navy, how do we know he can be good to civil/corporate management.  This article is an attempt to introduce true capabilities of a naval officer, so that corporate world knows their true asset values to multifacet organisations, am writing this having served  more than two decades in the Navy and six years in civil career.)

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Prime Minister, had rightly said,” To be secure on Land, we must be Supreme at Sea”. This famous quote always remind us that we are primarily a Maritime Nation. A strong navy is an important element of every Maritime Nation. Having quoted this, intent of a professional to serve in indian navy is apparent with the capabilities desired in him. The ship, if defined in short is a platform which has weapons, sensors,Power generation, Propulsion, stores, victualling,medical, sewage treatment, Evaporators,aviation, fuel storage,Fire fighting mechanism,   and men who drive it. In a sense its a floating township fortified, with all governed by  an officer at helm of affairs.

These naval officers are well trained to man a ship and maintain morale and motivation of crew under all circumstances – like stress of war, prolonged deployments, man management including  diplomatic engagements at foreign ports.

An Officer – is a true sales man with good knowledge of product and is not dependent on seasons to sell. He has to at an average manage 100- 400 men apart from the technical responsibilities of  keeping the ship going and intended target accomplishment. Targets can’t be missed or else you will be missed for ever. So they are natural target achievers by nature.

An officer is also an good marketing professional, as it’s about planning. Planning is  second nature to him as from planning a sortie to achieving the aim, is all about meticulous planning in minute details until the last mile. As it’s said in war there is no runners up, hence a plan  in corporate  may fail and can be redone, however for an officer a plan has no scope to fail.

Branding of our poweress is the true deterrence to desist the enemy from actually engaging with us in a war whilst maintaining our fear in the minds of the enemy.   An officer is trained to breathe branding, as to conquer an enemy by deterrence is an art of war, akin to branding a corporate product in a way that competitors feel no scope to  introduce their, or customers are made to believe, buy this or nothing else is worth.

An officer is an expert HR professional as he has the responsibilities of looking after leave, pay , morale, motivation and team spirit of his men onboard under all conditions,including transfers in case ashore billet. More over in case of casualty onboard the complete  formalities of documentation, disposal and pension. More over in case of breach of discipline onboard , he has statutory powers to award punishments.

An all rounder is the right word for a naval officer because apart from above mentioned responsibilities he also dons the hats of :-

a. Judge whilst in the jury of court martial.

b. Becomes a trainer when ashore at training establishment.

c.  First aid expert when onboard a ship which does not have a doctor.

d. Damage control and firefighting specialist at sea, if need arises due to incidents.

e. Final technical authority  for optimum exploitation of sensors, weapons, machinery at Sea.

f. Auditing of financials for accounts onboard.

Needless to say an officer has high integrity and morale fibre.  He is a man with high efficiency, durability and is a gentleman to the core.

 

Indiannavy

By Cdr Sanjeev Deshpande, Retd, Sourced ..https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/multi-faceted-professional-indian-naval-officer-cdr-sanjeev?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_recent_activity_details_shares%3B1ey5iwpwfMuUoLrQhVC%2BrQ%3D%3D

 

The Pleasure of Gliding

It was a summer morning with gentle breeze flowing, and greenery all around, at Newton Air force mess, UK in 1987. I was part of NCC Youth Exchange Delegation, it was going to be our first day of flying Gliders on foreign soil. While all of us were anxious to fly the glider aircrafts, I was vexed about meals. All preparations were non-veg and I was a hardcore vegetarian!

It was a summer morning with gentle breeze flowing, and greenery all around, at Newton Air force mess, UK in 1987. I was part of NCC Youth Exchange Delegation, it was going to be our first day of flying Gliders on foreign soil. While all of us were anxious to fly the glider aircrafts, I was vexed about meals. All preparations were non-veg and I was a hardcore vegetarian!

As, I looked around a pretty girl, standing by my side said  “I am Nancy, What will you have sir”. Startled, I said, “good morning, am a veg and there seems nothing for me in your Menu.”  She smiled and said, “Of course, we have Eggs and Fish in the Veg spread” . I was taken aback, but she was my only hope then, and I did not want to go hungry for flying, so I asked for boiled potatoes if possible. “Surely sir, will serve you boiled potatoes.” Her concern for my state, made me quite comfortable to fly that morning. By then flying briefing was announced. I headed towards the briefing room, only to be told that my sortie was slotted as the last one for the day since I was late for the briefing.  The instructor, Group Captain Jim seemed a terrible person because of his strictness.  I could just stand and see gilder’s taking off under tow of a power glider and ascending to 800 odd feet’s before detaching tow and then a flight time of about 16 -20 mins turning into thermal conditions, against Rohini gliders in India which generally offered a flight time of 3-7 mins. I was watching out of the crew room, and heard a voice, “how’s it going sir, Groupie Jim is a strict man , hope he did not pull you up for being late, enjoy the  grilled potatoes with pepper and salt Sir” –Nancy was standing with a tray. “Well Nancy so nice of you, you are really caring.” “No sir, it’s my job to ensure that everybody is well fed before they fly”.

As my flying turn came the gliders looked classy in their red belly and white top canopies. Groupi Jim was my instructor pilot in rear cockpit; he did not exchange any pleasantries and asked me to rattle out pre- flight checks and emergencies. I was bang on and made no mistakes. He then gave me additional points about R/T procedures etc. We took off and Jim’s said, “Unless you rely on yourself you won’t be able to fly this machine. All your! To my horror, the glider had already started rolling with front power glider towing and speed increasing every second, luckily take off detaching the tow cable and flight were good, but landing was hard. As the cockpit canopy opened on the parking bay, Jim said, “You fly well cadet, see you doing a solo soon.”

As we all assembled in crew room for debriefing, I realized everyone had a good joy ride except for me, as they were talking of the green top country side view and the river down curves and gush.

In evening we all assembled at the mess for drinks and snacks followed by dinner. Of course before I could look for Nancy she was in front, with her cute smile greeting me with potatoes. “Sir don’t worry these are your French fries. What’s your drink? Phew, I didn’t expect this welcome. I wanted to talk to her for her graciousness was killing me, but she won’t budge as it was her time on job and not to talk informally.

As days passed, I was cleared for solo and was flying solo, but Nancy refused to meet me in working hours, however she took care of my meals. So I confronted Nancy one morning during breakfast and asked her to meet sometime the same day. She said, of course today is my half day at work, will meet you in the evening for a drink. I was a bit confused as how can a waitress be allowed in officer mess to have a drink informally.

That evening , I was sitting alone on a corner table of mess lawns , all my fellow cadets kept enquiring  why was I not joining them, I excused myself as I had  a guest. After 20 Mins she walked up to me and said hi, she was looking so different and beautiful , that she did not look any bit of waitress who had cared for me. As the conversation flowed, I realized Nancy was an officer’s daughter with a strong sense of dignity of labor and was doing the job of a waitress for her pocket money. She was a science student and intended to fly in the RAF one day. I offered her a glider joyride if Groupi Jim permitted, as a gratitude for the care she took of me, and as a precursor to her ambition to fly one day. Well, she gave me a very naughty smile but then expressed excitement at the offer and asked me to try to take permission from Jim.

Next day was heading to the glider, I saw Groupi Jim and said, sir I have a request, what’s the matter are you not feeling well? enquired Jim. I said, sir Nancy the stewardess; she took care of my Veg meals so well that I need to repay her debt.  She is keen to fly, so I want to take her along for a sortie. I added she made me realize what the dignity of labor and dedication to job is. Hmmm said Jim, I will fly her on your behalf. I said but sir, today before we leave the base for good. He said sure, it’s a commitment. And he called for Nancy to strap up, I felt happy. As I walked for my penultimate sortie in UK, I was surprised to see Nancy, strapped up in front cockpit and waving at me, I looked around – Jim spoke, your sortie… take her around, express your gratitude to her yourself. My joy knew no bounds.

As we rolled for takeoff under tow, Nancy seemed excited. As aircraft was gaining height, she was enjoying the view and expressing her desire to fly often. Nancy was very jovial and I expressed my gratitude in air, she expressed her heartfelt thanks for the flying experience. I realized it was time to land as we were on end of circuit turning for finals. She firmly said “Controls with me”, I was shocked and thought it’s gonna be suicidal, if she persist on landing. she added, I am qualified Glider pilot License holder with 250 sorties on this type of aircraft, and Jim is my father. I called ATC for Jim on radio, “it’s true” said Jim. “Controls with Nancy” were my word, stunned at attitude displayed by Nancy, and the way the machine was brought down gently without any bumps or panic, probably it was the best touchdown till then I had experienced.

By Cdr Sanjeev Deshpande(Retd)

Indiannavy

 

Story Published in Quarterdeck Magazine 2017 – https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/node/16514

 

Supervision & Human Errors

“To Err may be human but it is for that human to suffer”! And someone else mentioned that accidents happen because “from design to construction to flying and maintenance, a human is involved. Any failure of any human in this chain could lead to an accident. Thus all accidents are due to ‘Human Error’. Where no human is blameworthy then it is an Act of God.”

 

Alexander Pope in one of his essays stated that “To err is Human”. An erstwhile Air Chief, however, twisted the words of Alexander Pope and said “To Err may be human but it is for that human to suffer”! And some else mentioned that accidents happen because “from design to construction to flying and maintenance, a human is involved. Any failure of any human in this chain could lead to an accident. Thus all accidents are due to ‘Human Error’. Where no human is blameworthy then it is an Act of God.”

In the IAF, aircraft accidents have happened mainly due to:

  1. Lack of experience
  2. Over/under confidence
  3. Inadequate training
  4. Lack of or absence of supervision.
  5. Lack of Self-discipline

Let us discuss these in succeeding paragraphs.

Accidents, as the word suggests, do happen. It would be naïve to record them as “Acts of God”.  A theoretically qualified person may have the requisite knowledge but may not have adequate experience to undertake a given task. Therefore, like in the medical profession, there needs to be a period of “internship” under an experienced person for the newly inducted worker. In the IAF, many a times one is transferred from one type of aircraft/equipment to another. It would be a fallacy to consider such a person ‘experienced’ on the new type merely because of his/her seniority in Service. Hence, experience on type assumes greater importance.

Many accidents, especially those involving aircraft, take place due to an individual being under confident or, in some cases, over confident. Under confidence stems from inadequate training, low motivation or an inherent fear of failure. Over confidence is essentially an over dose of egoistic tendencies. Both such conditions are detrimental to safe operations.

Training plays a very important role in building up an individual’s confidence and self-esteem. The training patterns adopted must not be over demanding and at the same time not be mediocre in nature. Good training methods those are easy to imbibe and instill the requisite amount of confidence leading to a well motivated professional.

A well motivated, confident and professionally trained individual would be less prone to making errors. Supervisors play a very important role in not only the growth of an individual’s professional capabilities but also in minimizing errors committed by them leading to accidents/incidents.

So, what is ‘Supervision’?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as “the act of watching a person or activity and making certain that everything is done correctly, safely, etc”.

Supervision is an act or action that is provided by a senior member of a profession to a junior member or members of that same profession. This action serves the purpose of enhancing the professional functioning of a relatively junior member(s) of a group by monitoring the quality of professional services undertaken. It stands to reason that the Supervisor himself is expected to be knowledgeable both in theory and practical aspects of the job in hand. It is the supervisor who instills confidence in the supervisee through suggestions and advice.

In aviation, supervision assumes greater importance since the margins of error are very narrow. While, say, the newly inducted aircraft technician working on an aircraft may be qualified after undergoing the requisite training on type, he would lack the experience. This is where the supervisor assumes the role of a guide and mentor to ensure that the task is accomplished without any issues. Professional supervision is a process to enable and guide a worker towards competent and accountable practice. It also provides ongoing professional development and support.

In the Air Force supervision, therefore, means to carry out functions of planning, organizing and monitoring the tasks at various levels Supervisors at the top (Officers) supervise the activities of middle-level managers (Warrant Ranks) who supervise the activities of lower level managers Sergeants) who finally supervise the conduct of non-managers i.e. Corporals and below.

Supervision serves the following objectives:

  1. Promotes communication: It helps Supervisors at all levels to understand workers’ goals, and workers understand organizational goals and, thus, contribute to organizational productivity.
  2. Promote motivation: Supervision along with two-way communication motivates the workers to achieve the organizational targets.
  3. Evaluate performance: Supervision evaluates the performance of workers and determines their potential to enhance professional ability.
  4. Improve performance: If workers are not able to complete the allocated tasks, supervision helps in guiding and improving their performance.

Some supervisors assume the role of a “Helicopter” supervisor by always hovering around the worker. At times such ‘hovering’ is counter-productive because the worker feels that there is a trust-deficit. This could lead to missing carrying out an essential aspect of the task. Some supervisors are at the other extreme of the spectrum and accept that a task has been completed without checking themselves.

A good supervisor is one who briefs his subordinates with clarity about the tasks required to be performed. Once the subordinate reports completion of the given task, it is incumbent on the supervisor to check that the work has been done following the correct procedures. In aviation there is no leeway to take short-cuts.

Last but not the least; discipline plays a very vital role in avoiding accidents. No amount of supervision would be successful if this vital ingredient is missing from an individual’s mental makeup. While discipline forms an intrinsic part of an Air Warrior’s service life, at times it plays truant and gets the individual in to a difficult situation. Therefore, it is important for an Air Warrior to develop a sense of “self- discipline”. The dictionary defines “Self Discipline” as “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses.” This attribute can be developed through training and practice. Yoga and meditation could be adopted to achieve a high degree of self discipline. In the ultimate analysis it is this factor that is overwhelmingly responsible for avoiding accidents.

Finally, Indian Air Force can ill-afford to lose personnel and equipment due to lackadaisical approach to tasks by its personnel especially the supervisors. Supervision and Human Errors are interlinked and must be well understood by all the key players in the chain of command. Reduction, if not elimination, of human error accidents/incidents is achievable if supervisors at all levels go about their tasks in a professional manner.

Air Cmde Ashok Chhibbar       

Air Cmde AD Chhibbar, AVSM (Retd)

https://www.facebook.com/Raindrops-Ashok-Chhibbar-793803957331153

https://www.facebook.com/The-Accidental-Pilot-Ashok-Chhibbar-392961047569173/

 

Is IoT going to be ubiquitous ?

IoT ready -IoT has a transformational impact on all sectors because it is fundamentally changing products, business models, processes and customer interaction. Ultimately success of IoT solution depends on the acceptance and adaptability of people.

Internet of Things

We grew up playing the paper game -name,place,animal,thing…..Which I say was loosely coupled to what we call today -Internet of things or the buzz word IoTWikipedia definition ]. So when we synergize the name [people], geo locations [place] ,animal [let us say data points] and things[sensors and devices] we get information and that when pushed through some number crunching results in analytics. So joining these dots using wireless or wireline communication leads to the world of IoT. The natural thinking is why IoT has come on the center stage now ,the answer is simple – because the various components of IoT like sensors, wireless and wireline connectivity,edge devices and switches, cloud infrastructure and data analytics have now matured adequately to be put together as a complete use case for the betterment of the organization / society.The actual strength of IoT is not in the hardware [sensors etc] , the power comes from the software that connects the data points and derives analytic values from this data and helps us to solve problem statement. IoT is a greenfield market and allows new players with new business models, approaches, and solutions, to play around and run their imagination wild to find solutions and monetize .

The worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to be a USD 328 billion market by 2020. The IoT market in India is poised to launch with the government initiative of building 100 smart cities solutions, there are tremendous opportunities for IoT starts up to come up and create job opportunity and fuel the fire for entrepreneurship. Actually the word internet (in IoT) is actually a misnomer as we need not always use internet to connect ……it can well work with the wireless connectivity. Job creation is the pay off as that improves a certain organization/community and as example – city transport can be improved and thus scalability of transport means more driver and mechanic job available.

How Does IoT Affect Me-According to Gartner approximately 26 billion connected devices will be in place by 2020. So from switching on the geyser or air conditioner when I am just 20 minutes short of my house to finding a vacant parking site or tracking the shuttle to office are all the enablers for IoT.

Having said that IoT holds promise to anyone with creativity and imagination to coin a business use case, let me talk about using it for any organization whether local or global for monitoring its IT infrastructure.

IoT for Organizational IT infrastructure

Integrating IoT with legacy Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a low hanging fruit for startups and entrepreneurs to jump into the IoT bandwagon. Every organization has IT infrastructure giving the machine 2 Machine connectivity maybe for software dev /server/finance/operations and manufacturing. All these machines are though under SLA /AMC need to be monitored for the following.

  • CPU and Memory utilization
  • Throughput and volume of traffic in the network
  • Outage due to hardware issue
  • Trends and analytics
  • Predictive analytics
  • Specify multiple conditions, triggers, and responses
  • Identify potential problems with data analysis tools
  • Automate work order generation based on specified triggers

For IT maintenance –IoT is basically talking to the asset and listening to what the asset is trying to tell us. This helps us to take informed decision before outage takes place. In the maintenance lingo –reduce the MTTR and MTBR…by say staging forward the replacement hardware well before the outage/downtime and rely more on predictive maintenance.

Real time data

Challenges

  • Extensive range of new technologies and skills to master
  • Depending on the use case and story the immaturity of technologies and services
  • Sensor maturity [positive negatives]
  • Security of the end points and the solution
  • Connectivity management
  • Application enablement
  • Devices and data collection management

IoT ready -IoT has a transformational impact on all sectors because it is fundamentally changing products, business models, processes and customer interaction. Ultimately success of IoT solution depends on the acceptance and adaptability of people. It is platform that uses data analytics and automates function for the betterment of the organization / society and enhances the customer delight. IoT has solution for transport, machine, agriculture, manufacturing, retail, food industry……et al. The catch is to identify the business use case and grab the opportunity to kick off into the world of IoT.

[The views expressed in this article are my personal]

By Lt Col Avadhut Deshpande,(Retd) , Signals