Advice on the Causal Model of Air Transport Safety

Summary of findings:

  • CATS represents the state-of-the-art in causal modelling;
  • Initial applications of the CATS model should target strategic issues instead of tactical risk management;
  • The CATS model is certain to identify policies and actions that fall outside the scope of the Dutch Civil Aviation community;
  • International acceptance and involvement in the CATS program is essential from this point forward;
  • Validation of CATS will be difficult and will require access to confidential data;
  • There are a number of related efforts underway that could provide useful data for the validation of CATS, build international confidence in the model, and provide resources for validation and refinement.

International Developments

Corporate Manslaughter; Developments in Safety Oversight; Safety Aspects of the introduction of Very Light Jets; Shortage of Qualified Personnel

The first international development described is corporate manslaughter. On 6 April 2007 the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act came into force, creating an offence of Corporate Manslaughter in England and Wales, and an offence of Corporate Homicide in Scotland. An organisation will be guilty of the offence of Corporate Manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death and amounts to a gross breach of duty of care owed to that person, provided that the way in which the activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element of this reach.

The effect on aviation safety of the risk of prosecution for the offense of Corporate Manslaughter is most probably negative, as it could very well lead to an attitude or policy of management that discourages the collection of data and a tendency or policy to get rid of any data as quickly as possible. This all to avoid the use of these data by the prosecutor, in his or her effort to prove that the causal factors of accident X or incident Y where already well known within the company, and that apparently no adequate actions were taken.

The effect of possible manslaughter charges on aviation safety in the Netherlands will not differ from the effects described above. However, at this very moment, corporate manslaughter charges are not possible in a comparable way as is now possible in e.g. the United Kingdom.

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