Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme
When things don’t run smoothly

When things don’t run smoothly

Posted on 28.07.2022 by Jennifer Curran


EditionCCFB 77


CHIRP received 362 reports during the last 12 months, that’s 50% of our pre-COVID reporting rate. This is not surprising, considering aviation didn’t get going again until October 2021 when the traffic light international restrictions were reviewed and countries on the ‘red list’ were much reduced.

Since 1st June 2021, CHIRP has received 245 cabin crew confidential reports. The majority of these concerns were also reported internally, either via their senior crew member, the captain or a report form. 79 reporters didn’t report their concerns internally, and the majority of those were were related to fatigue. If you believe that you are suffering from the effects of fatigue, you must report this internally, as we often say, reporting internally helps an operator identify and mitigate a safety concern that could be occurring. Please refer Cabin Crew FEEDBACK Edition 75  for more discussion on fatigue.

Cabin crew recruitment is in full swing by numerous operators either due to many colleagues leaving the Industry as a result of the pandemic or redundancies. However, staffing is not just a concern within the cabin crew community but in many ground-based roles in aviation too. From the very start of a passenger’s journey, they are experiencing the effects of an industry generally understaffed — buses to the terminals are experiencing delays, as are security and customs and by the time a passenger is greeted at the aircraft door their experience has most likely not been as smooth as it once may have been. Although CHIRP have not seen an increase in passenger management related reports, we understand that some operators have.

As cabin crew, your duty up until boarding may also have not been as smooth as pre-covid either, you may have experienced delays getting to the crew room or getting through security, delays with cleaners and caterers, missing ground staff, pressure to board, and this is all before a potential slot delay on push back.

In the face of such delays and frustrations, it’s important to adhere to safety SOPs to ensure that all crew perform all tasks in a consistent and safe manner; they are designed to protect everyone onboard. Even if you feel under pressure because of time or your workload, every crew member has a responsibility to make sure that all their safety checks are completed in accordance with your Operations Manual and in a timely manner. This isn’t just the case for pre-boarding but also during the flight and post flight. Don’t rush or ignore your checks, safety must always come first.

A lack of resource is typical of a hazard hole in the Swiss Cheese Model by James Reason and safety reporting is as vital as ever. Reporting safety concerns internally should always be the first report that you make, this allows your operator to be aware of the challenges you are facing, to react by investigating or use your reports as data to interrogate trends. CHIRP stands ready to assist as best we can those who do not feel able to do so.

Near Miss reporting is also very important too — concerns about safety-related incidents that ‘nearly happened’ and might not meet the threshold for formal reporting elsewhere. Any crew member can report to CHIRP, regardless of your rank or position and length of service.

In 1993 Gordon Dupont developed a Human Factors concept he called ‘The Dirty Dozen’, these twelve elements influence people to make mistakes.

When you read the reports included within this edition, see if you can identify which of the 12 elements above are applicable to each CHIRP report.

A lack of communication on board can lead to a misunderstanding, not just for the crew but also for the passengers. In the majority of the reports that were recently discussed at the CHIRP Cabin Crew Advisory Board, many of the issues raised could have been resolved on the day if effective communication had taken place between the crew. Effective communication between colleagues is vital for the safe and smooth running of every sector.

Comments on previous FEEDBACKs

Here at CHIRP we very much value your inputs and comments, positive or otherwise. We recognise that there is always room for improvement, and we want to ensure that we are giving you valuable content to support and enhance safety. Please do get in touch at and let us know what you think about this edition, or anything else (that’s safety related).

Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination and Victimisation (BHDV)

The CHIRP Aviation Programme also provides a facility for confidential reporting of Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination and Victimisation (BHDV) where there is an identifiable safety-related concern.  CHIRP has no specific expertise or resources to investigate BHDV reports.  CHIRP’s role is to aggregate data to build a picture of the prevalence of BHDV in the aviation sector.  See our BHDV page on the CHIRP website for further information.  CHIRP’s role in reporting Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination and Victimisation (BHDV)

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When things don’t run smoothly - CHIRP
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