FAA-Industry Safety Program Needs Work, DOT Says
A recent DOT Inspector General audit of the FAA aviation safety action program (ASAP) said the agency is not realizing the full benefits of the program. ASAP is a joint FAA and industry program that allows aviation employees to self-report safety violations to air carriers and the FAA without fear of reprisal. Incidents reported through ASAP by aviation employees are reviewed for acceptance by an event review committee (ERC), which can also recommend corrective actions. The DOT IG audit concluded that while ASAP is a “potentially valuable safety tool, we found that the FAA’s ineffective implementation and inadequate guidance have allowed inconsistent use and potential abuse of the program. ASAP, as currently implemented, is a missed opportunity.” According to the DOT IG, the FAA must improve the program by revising ASAP guidance to clarify which incidents should be excluded from the program; emphasizing to employees that ASAP is not an amnesty program; clarifying the ERC’s authority and role; and requiring inspectors to examine repetitive reports of ASAP-related safety concerns. It also asked the FAA to develop a central database of all ASAP reports that the FAA can use for trend analysis at a national level.