As a High Reliability Organisation, we acknowledge and appreciate all our operating workflows and proceedings. We place these centre stage in all our deliberations, and constantly seek out further hidden weaknesses. In doing so, we are also aware that some hidden weaknesses may seem unproblematic, but can have an adverse impact if the unexpected occurs.
Improving safety at Zurich Airport
As in other companies, managers of HROs are often pressured to raise cost-efficiency or to increase capacity. Each change is therefore subject to a risk assessment and, if necessary, accompanied by mitigation measures. However, individual changes can lead to instability in the overall operational system, as was the case at Zurich Airport.
When the weak signals increased and employees reported more observations, skyguide and its airport partners carried out an overall safety assessment. The safety margin of the overall system proved to be too thin indeed and was increased by the implementation of suitable measures – initially even at the expense of the airport’s capacity.