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Application of ORM in aviation maintenance trends.

For years, "big Navy" has tried to teach us Operational Risk Management (ORM) so we would apply it in our jobs and off-duty endeavors. However, in a study a few years ago, researchers found that ORM training has only been marginally effective at infusing risk management throughout all the different aviation communities, and maintenance was one of them.

I've listened to many ORM presentations, but I've never fully understood how to apply the methodology to my avionics expertise. Maybe it was because we were instructed by pilots who could not relate daily ORM applications to aircraft maintenance. We used the term ORM loosely. When someone was asked about ORM, the most common reply was, "I ORM'd the process." But deep down, we knew theterm was used to appease the person asking the question, rather than actually understanding what we were talking about.

Then a few months ago, I had an epiphany while reading an Australian Safety Spotlight (issue 02 2013) magazine. Finally, I found an article that explained ORM in our maintenance language, and it gave an easy-to-understand application of it. I saw that the concept would fit nicely into our community with a few tweaks. Our Safety Center analysts set out to produce an ORM product that aviation maintainers could use on the job.

We've produced trifolds and posters [see the centerfold pages of this Mech for a pullout poster] that depict three areas of responsibility: worker, supervisor and maintenance leadership. Each product include actions relevant to each position. We've tried to depict (by position), how a maintainer can apply risk management on a daily basis in their job. We are not reinventing or changing any ORM concepts or principles, but wwe are making ORM easier to understand and implement.

We don't expect maintainers to memorize each breakdown area, but to be familiar with them and train to them. We, as leaders, need to sow the seeds for these risk management steps and practices so they become second nature. By reading and understanding these basic questions and steps, we will increase our mission success and help prevent maintenance errors and mishaps.

CWO5 Kissel is an Avionics Analyst with the Naval Safety Center.

By CWO5 Daniel Kissel

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Author:Kissel, Daniel
Date:Dec 22, 2013
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