Akinkuotu Underscores Centrality of human factor in ATM safety


The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Captain Fola Akinkuotu has described the role of human factor in Air Traffic Management safety as critical in the process of hazard identification and safety risk management.

Akinkuotu who was a guest speaker and panelist at the just-concluded Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) Africa Conference and Safety Seminar which held in Marrakesh, Morocco listed the human factors to include environmental, organizational and job factors as well as individual characteristics, saying that all these have direct impact on the individual’s behavior and could affect health and safety. Delivering a paper at the event with the title: Human Factor and Safety.

Akinkuotu who was represented by the Legal Adviser, Mrs Anastasia Gbem, argued that the introduction of technology does not primarily aim at improving safety but “satisfying the demands for the increase in service delivery while maintaining existing margins of safety, stressing that “while the introduction of technology is an inevitable consequence of the needs of any mass production activity, its relevance in the management of safety cannot be overlooked.”

He averred that in Air Traffic Management, any technological advances deployed to improve the system capacity, if not properly interfaced through adequate training and orientation would lead to operational error, and that “while these technologies are introduced to increase ATM capacities, the consequences of operational error caused by poor interface between systems and Air Traffic Control Officers outweighs the primary objective of mass production with the ultimate safety penalties.”

Akinkuotu therefore charged Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) in Africa to “continuously review work processes and procedures to further tighten the noose on vulnerability of mismatches in the interfaces between people and technology in order to effectively trap operational errors,” even as he tasked the executive leadership team to create a “zero-tolerance safety culture” to be embraced by all levels of the organization.


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