A LOT of money is spent every year on box checking; meeting minimum standards. For the flight department or individual who wants something more, securing a greater amount of money for inspiring and relevant training can be difficult and daunting. Well, no more! D. Smith of the Transportation Safety Institute has come up with a brilliant tool to explain to upper level management or anyone else why good training, good resources, and safety go hand in hand.
Quantum Safety Metrics
Mr. Smith devised a formula “to quantify and measure safety performance” through a method known as Quantum Safety Metrics. The first step is to list every Program (P) the flight department is currently implementing which affects safety. Then each of these programs is given a Quantifiable Effect (QE) number which represents its effect on safety. Multiplying the program by the quantifying number gives the Accident Prevention Effort (APE). The formula looks like this.
Program X Quantifiable Effect = Accident Prevention Effort
(P) X (QE) = (APE)
For example, if you hold departmental safety meetings 4 times per year and 15 people attend each of those meetings, then the formula would look like this.
Programs (4) X Quantifiable Effect (15) = Accident Prevention Effort (60)
Now that you have a number to quantify this safety effort, you can devise ways to improve the score and give a visual representation of how those efforts can directly affect safety. After all, states D. Smith, when it comes to training “some is better than none, trained is better than un-trained, and resourced is better than un-resourced”. So if you were to increase the number of departmental safety meetings from 4 per year to once a month, the program quotient would increase from 4 to 12 and thus the APE would also increase.
Programs (12) X Quantifiable Effect (15) = Accident Prevention Effort (180)
So the Accident Prevention Score has now increased from 60 to 180 just by changing the number of departmental safety meetings from 4 times per year to 12.
Applying this formula to each program implemented in the department will give an overall APE score. This can be a helpful tool for management in that it allows current safety and training efforts to be quantified. Then when those efforts are increased through more programs or better resources, the APE score also increases. This gives a visual and quantifiable representation of the value that has been added through the increased efforts. This can be very helpful when trying to show others the need for or benefit of more funding, resources or time for training.
The score itself will vary for each department. The number is not important. What matters is that the score continues to increase as strides are made toward growing a training program that is well resourced, well planned, and centered on safety.
D. Smith and Troy Smith of the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave a more in-depth presentation of this tool at the Bombardier Safety Stand down 2015. Further information and examples can be found here along with our interview of D. Smith.
Now, it is well understood that adding more things to do or increasing the amount of money or resources doesn’t necessarily mean that we are safer. But the underlying philosophy – “some is better than none, trained is better than un-trained, and resourced is better than un-resourced”- has a lot of merit. If this formula is used to help others understand that time, effort, and money need to be allocated to help departments reach beyond minimum standards, then so be it. And for those of us who have excused ourselves by bemoaning the lack of funding, now there is a solution.