Athens, Greece, March 17, 2006 — At its 18th annual European Aviation Safety Seminar, the Flight Safety Foundation applauded the recent action of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The Council, on March 3, 2006, approved an amendment of Annex 13 — Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation — that includes new provisions for the protection of safety information from inappropriate use, mainly, the use of safety information in legal proceedings against operational personnel.
The FSF has been involved in the issue from the start and led the charge to push ICAO to take this step. In January 2003, it called on ICAO to develop a global strategic framework to ease the threat of unwarranted criminal proceedings during an accident investigation. Such a threat has impeded the flow of safety information between parties and not helped develop better operating practices.
“We are applauding ICAO’s action in approving this amendment,” stated Stuart Matthews, President and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation. “Keeping confidential evidence collected by accident investigators or from incident reporting systems can only lead to enhanced safety since witnesses will be able to talk more freely and without concern that their evidence may be used in judicial proceedings.”
These provisions establish guidelines that States may follow in order to review and amend as necessary their national laws and regulations in order to protect sources of safety information, and become effective in November 2006.
“We call on every member country to enact the legislation as suggested by this amendment,” Matthews continued. “Our position is that we would sooner find the cause of the accident so that it can then be corrected to prevent re-occurrence, than to have someone punished in the hope that that alone would fix the problem.”
Flight Safety Foundation is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, auditing, education, advocacy and publishing to improve aviation safety. The Foundation’s mission is to pursue the continuous improvement of global aviation safety and the prevention of accidents. www.flightsafety.org
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