4th April 2023

SOPs not being adhered to

Initial Report

Since returning from furlough I’ve witnessed crew not completing pre departure security checks properly. Much of this I believe is due to the SCCM wanting an on-time departure & crew are rushing due to passengers boarding. On occasions passengers have commenced boarding before checks are passed to the SCCM.

For example, on a recent flight, on arrival at the aircraft a crew member proceeded to put their cabin bags into a wardrobe which was full of blankets etc. This particular wardrobe was my check, in my area of responsibility. The cabin crew member was very unhappy that I asked them to remove their bags until I’d checked through & behind the contents of the wardrobe and didn’t seem to understand the importance of me checking the wardrobe pre departure.

On some flights toilet checks have not been actively completed on a regular basis. It’s difficult to ‘prompt’ newer crew to do these checks as they take offence as if they’re being told what to do.

I don’t recall being as worried about safety as I am currently and I feel things are getting worse. It doesn’t help that cabin crew are exhausted at the moment due to terrible rostering.

Sadly, I don’t feel I comfortable reporting my feelings to the company.

Operators Comment

The report highlights several concerns, namely the pre-flight checks and security search, in-flight checks (toilets) and rostering.  Completion of the pre-flight checks is an important task performed by each crew member responsible for a section of the cabin prior to the boarding of passengers.  This check confirms that the equipment within their area is where it should be and that a security search has been completed.  Missing equipment and anything abnormal that is found must be communicated to the Senior Cabin Crew Member (SCCM) and Commander as soon as possible.  It is our policy that each crew member shall report any fault, failure, malfunction or defect which the crew member believes may affect the airworthiness or safe operation of an aircraft.  The reporter should have raised their concerns on the day to the Commander or SCCM if they felt their colleague was not taking their feedback regarding the conduct of SOPs seriously.  It is our policy that crew members report safety occurrences in the safety management system, this includes issues relating to rostering.  This allows us to review the data and trends monthly in various meetings attended by colleagues across the business.

There is support available daily to support our crew.  We have undergone a huge transformation over the last couple of years, we recognise that some colleagues are familiarising themselves with the working environment and reforming a routine they were once familiar with prior to furlough that resulted in an extended time off work for most of our crew community.  We have taken steps to create supportive material available to the crew, and we regularly communicate about safety and the importance of SOPs, feedback, teamwork and communication.  Communication is incredibly important on-board and when this does not happen, it’s usually a contributor (as a causal factor) to an incident whether safety related or not.  Therefore, we have taken steps to focus our training on the importance of communication with further plans to adopt this into recurrent training in 2023.

The reporter can speak to the cabin crew management team (follow our internal processes) to raise specific concerns and request support. If the reporter feels that they are uncomfortable reporting their feelings or specific feedback or concerns, we also have a confidential reporting service too.

CAA Comment

All flights are required to be operated in accordance with the procedures established in the operations manual, and it is the commander’s responsibility to ensure that all operational procedures and checklists are complied with, this includes pre-flight and post-flight duties, including security checks.

Cabin crew are responsible for completing their assigned duties, and achieving on-time performance is not reason for failure to complete checks. In the first instance, such occurrences should be notified to the commander and reported using the company reporting scheme.

CHIRP Comment

The regulations state (a) The crew member shall be responsible for the proper execution of his/her duties that are:

(1) related to the safety of the aircraft and its occupants; and

(2) specified in the instructions and procedures in the operations manual.

If you are aware that an SOP has not been adhered to, you should feel confident to address this with your colleagues. The more sectors a crew member completes, the more familiar they become with their roles and responsibilities onboard the aircraft, this isn’t just applicable to inexperienced crew, but also to crew that may be on a new aircraft type – we were all new once and must remember to support new crew. It is important that you notify the SCCM if you believe that any checks have not been completed as per your operations manual. Everyone is responsible for ensuring a safe fight, and by not raising concerns before departure you are risking an unsafe situation.

The reporter mentions that they don’t feel comfortable reporting their concerns to their operator, CHIRP is here as a means by which individuals are able to raise safety-related issues of concern without being identified to their peer group, management, or the Regulatory Authority.  The fundamental principle underpinning CHIRP is that all reports are treated in absolute confidence in order that reporters’ identities are protected.

CHIRP does not replace organisations’ Safety Management System (SMS) reporting schemes, when these are available and, if they feel able, reporters should always consider using these first before coming to CHIRP because this should result in a faster and more integrated response from the organisation. Most operators also have their own internal confidential report programmes.


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