There are multiple components that are needed for an effective Safety Management System (SMS); one of them being detailed and accurate taxonomy. In SMS, Taxonomy is a tool that is used to accurately describe safety events, hazards, human factors, etc. by providing a structured and standardized assortment of descriptive phrases and terms. This improves the quality of information and communication within an organization as there is a common language, which increases focus on safety issues within an airline.
To establish a comprehensive reporting system that provides valuable data regarding safety events, taxonomies are critical for airline SMS. Through our years of experience in implementing various taxonomies for a variety of airlines, we have become familiar with taxonomies that address specific elements of aviation safety event reporting. We have also discovered that airlines with successful safety programs configure different taxonomies to better meet their operational needs which enhances their safety operations. Summarized below are just a few of the many taxonomies that are most commonly utilized by airlines.
Accident/Incident Data Reporting Program – ADREP
ADREP is an ICAO taxonomy that carefully describes possible situations or subjects related to a safety event. ADREP consists of taxonomies related to Aircraft Categories, Entities and attributes, Aviation Operation, Descriptive factors, Events, Events phases, Occurrence category, Occurrence classes, Organizations/Persons, etc.
Basic categories for ADREP events are
- Operations of the aircraft
- Consequential events
- Air Navigation Services
- Aerodrome and ground aids
- Civil Aviation Authority/administration
- Non-compliance with regulations
Harmonization of European Incident Definitions Initiatives for ATM – HEIDI
HEIDI is a taxonomy designed for the Safety of Air Navigation. HEIDI taxonomy is a useful supporting tool for a cohesive approach to the reporting process. The HEIDI taxonomy covers the following aspects of safety reporting:
- Event Types
- Descriptive Factors
- Explanatory Factors
- Classification Scheme
- Safety Recommendations
Threats and Errors Management – TEM
TEM, which was developed by industry safety experts and crewmembers, is a taxonomy that is convenient for event reporting for Aircraft Captains. TEM’s entire concept, while focused on human factors, is finding the possible threats that could have a negative impact on human factors in the system. TEM assumes that active threats could lead to increased personnel errors and, when compared to ADREP, TEM is more concise.
Human Factor Analysis and Classification System – HFACS
HFACS has the premier goal to support accident analyzing processes by discovering human factor element roles and causes directly linked to the event which later could influence accident recognition. HFACS includes four failure levels, each of these four is further divided into lower levels or categories/sub-categories.
- Unsafe Acts consisting of Errors and Violations
- Organizational Influences
- Unsafe Supervisions
- Precondition for Unsafe Acts failure levels
Taxonomies are a supporting tool in aviation reporting systems which enable airlines to better understand, define, and categorize reported events. Enabling airline personnel to properly describe and evaluate safety data is the true purpose and benefit of taxonomies.
Although taxonomies are standardized, taxonomies are most impactful when customized to meet the needs of each individual organization. It is important for airlines to adapt and modify their taxonomies according to their operation. Standard taxonomies are a great starting point because they tend to incorporate industry overlaps in common safety event descriptors, but they would not be able to fully capture all phrases or descriptions that are relevant to each airline.
For these reasons, the ProSafeT team has concluded that providing an SMS platform with the ability to reflect an airline’s particular taxonomy, and modify it as its operations change, is not just helpful but necessary for a successful safety program.