Airport Business - 48

FBO MATTERS
AUTHOR Patrick Moylan

Grounded in Safety...
or Safety, Grounded?

Is unnecessary complexity keeping your safety program from taking off?
"SIMPLEST IS always best." That's a quote from
the movie John Adams, where Thomas Jefferson
is describing how he came to the final version of
his invention of the swivel chair. "I went through
a number of variations; this one is by far the most
successful." The simplest turned out to be the best.
Note that Jefferson even made his conclusion as
simple as possible as well - only four words long.
Before we go any further, let's briefly
distinguish between the terms "simple"
and "easy." First, they're not the same.
Can something be simple and easy? Sure
- take, for example, waving hello to a
dear friend. Is that simple? Yes, it is. And,
it's also easy! But what about running
a marathon? Is that simple? Of course
- just put one foot in front of the other
46,000 times without stopping. Couldn't
be simpler. But is it easy? Assuredly, that
answer is "no."
Can Jefferson's advice on simplicity
still be relevant 243 years later, even when
applied to Safety Management Systems?
The simplest answer is of course, "yes." A
few years ago, I was helping a commercial
ground handling organization prepare

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PATRICK MOYLAN

Patrick Moylan is a Certified Safety
Professional and Senior Associate at FBO
Partners, LLC, an aviation consultancy
providing business management advisory
services to Fixed Base Operations (FBOs).
Moylan may be reached at patrick.
molylan@fbopartners.com

for an industry SMS audit. When I read
aloud from the audit manual, "does
the provider have a written procedure
for the placement of chocks following
an aircraft departure," the ground
handling manager's eyes widened, and
an expression approaching panic began
to form on his face. "Umm, no we
don't. I guess we'll need to go ahead
and buy some bins for each gate, stencil
'PLACE CHOCKS HERE' on each of
them, develop a new Chock Handling
Procedure, create some training slides,
and then make sure everyone is following
the new procedure." He thought I'd be
pleased with the comprehensive nature
of his new plan of action to comply with
this audit requirement.
"Well, that's one way to do it. But
you've been in operation now for over
ten years at this airport. What have
your employees been doing with the
chocks all this time?" He told me that
after each f light, the ground handlers
placed the chocks outside the aircraft
envelope boundary line, in front of the
nose wheel area. As I peered through his
office window at nearby departure gates,
sure enough, there were two neatly-

48 \ AIRPORTBUSINESS / MAY 2019

stacked piles of chocks at the locations
he described. I then typed one sentence
in his draft safety manual: "After aircraft
pushback, chocks shall be placed outside
of the aircraft envelope boundary line
in front of the nose wheel markings."
I looked up and told him he was now
in compliance with the audit question,
so we moved on to the next element.
Clearly the organization already had
a procedure; the remaining step was
merely to memorialize it in a written
procedure. Rather than adopt easy
solutions, organizations tend towards
procedural complexity where it is not
needed. Simplest is always best.
On another occasion, an FBO was
considering options on implementation
of a safety reporting system. The



Airport Business

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Airport Business

Inside the Fence
Industry Update
Parking, Profitability & Pinatas
Security by Design - New Security Technology and the Future of Airport Security Checkpoint Design
Washington Watch
A Vision for the Next Generation of Passenger Needs
Digital Signage Provides New Opportunities for Airport Retail
Totally Boggus
Executive Search Part 1: An Education on a Widely Used but Misinterpreted Topic
Know Your Needs for ARFF Equipment
American Aero's Journey to IS-BAH Stage III
Product Profile
Grounded in Safety...or Safety, Grounded?
Airport Business - 1
Airport Business - 2
Airport Business - 3
Airport Business - 4
Airport Business - 5
Airport Business - Inside the Fence
Airport Business - 7
Airport Business - Industry Update
Airport Business - 9
Airport Business - 10
Airport Business - 11
Airport Business - Parking, Profitability & Pinatas
Airport Business - 13
Airport Business - 14
Airport Business - 15
Airport Business - Security by Design - New Security Technology and the Future of Airport Security Checkpoint Design
Airport Business - 17
Airport Business - 18
Airport Business - 19
Airport Business - Washington Watch
Airport Business - 21
Airport Business - A Vision for the Next Generation of Passenger Needs
Airport Business - 23
Airport Business - 24
Airport Business - 25
Airport Business - 26
Airport Business - 27
Airport Business - 28
Airport Business - 29
Airport Business - Digital Signage Provides New Opportunities for Airport Retail
Airport Business - 31
Airport Business - 32
Airport Business - 33
Airport Business - Totally Boggus
Airport Business - 35
Airport Business - Executive Search Part 1: An Education on a Widely Used but Misinterpreted Topic
Airport Business - 37
Airport Business - 38
Airport Business - 39
Airport Business - Know Your Needs for ARFF Equipment
Airport Business - 41
Airport Business - 42
Airport Business - 43
Airport Business - American Aero's Journey to IS-BAH Stage III
Airport Business - 45
Airport Business - Product Profile
Airport Business - 47
Airport Business - Grounded in Safety...or Safety, Grounded?
Airport Business - 49
Airport Business - 50
Airport Business - 51
Airport Business - 52
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