Classifying emerging Human Factors Risks in Eastern Africa Aviation Operations using HFACS analysis
Aviation safety in the African region has continued to be a concern for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the industry as a whole. Accident statistics show Africa’s accident rate at 5.3 per one million departures with 3% of the worldwide traffic distribution (ICAO, 2013). Human error has been suggested to account for 70–80% of all aviation accidents. The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) methodology was applied to accident reports from two Eastern African countries: Kenya and Uganda. In all, 42 finalized reports for accidents occurring between 2000 and 2017 were analyzed. In all unsafe acts predominated with Kenya 44%, Uganda 50%. Categorizing violations found exceptional violations were highest with Kenya at 77% and Uganda 81%. Pre-conditions for unsafe acts follow closely after the unsafe acts. A comparison between Kenya and Uganda’s HFACs analysis shows that both countries share two significant categories of unsafe acts (Breakdown of Visual scan x Vestibular Illusions and Poorly Executed procedures x Misinterpretation/misuse of information) with positive correlation coefficients. The rest of the shared categories are unsafe acts versus pre-conditions for unsafe acts (Forgotten Intensions x Crew Resource Management), unsafe supervision versus pre-conditions for unsafe acts and unsafe supervision versus pre-conditions for unsafe acts. The results were consistent with previous industry observations: Over 70% of aviation accidents in Africa have human factor causes. Adverse weather was seen to be a common secondary casual factor. Changes in flight training and risk management methods may alleviate the high number of accidents in Africa.
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