OIG: FAA needs to improve incident reporting system oversight

Washington – The Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight of a voluntary air traffic controller reporting program needs to be able to identify safety hazard root causes and discipline workers, according to a report (.pdf file) released July 19 by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.

OIG said that although the Air Traffic Safety Action Program was fully implemented in October 2010, FAA “will need to make significant improvements” before the program can effectively identify safety hazards and provide usable recommendations to airports. OIG also noted that the current system reduces FAA’s ability to discipline or remove unsafe workers involved in serious aircraft crashes if they report their involvement anonymously.

In response to the report, FAA stated it concurred with the majority of recommendations but disagreed with OIG’s request to exclude air traffic controllers from filing anonymous reports. FAA contends that the current process elicits more relevant information faster for airports than a formal investigation does.

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