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A new, more efficient system to gather and analyse safety incident information will help prevent similar incidents from happening again. The new Occurrence Reporting Regulation has been adopted by the EU Parliament in Plenary on 26 February with an overwhelming majority of 644 votes in favour and 14 against. Creating a robust and more trustful reporting environment for pilots and other aviation safety professionals, the regulation is a key pillar of any far-reaching safety management system.

The new regulation establishes a pro-active, risk- and evidence-based system to report, collect, store, protect and disseminate safety incident information. This information will, in turn, allow for identification of potential safety hazards before they result in an accident. A key point where the regulation goes beyond a simple mandatory system of reporting is the strengthening of Just Culture principles. The legislation will protect both the safety information and the aviation safety professionals who honestly report incidents.

Highlights of the new regulation include:

  • Stricter protection of the incident reporter, including clear independence and separation of the departments handling the safety data within different organisations; 
  • Broader protection –not only the reporter him/herself but also  all the people mentioned in the occurrence reports, including safety professionals employed as contractors;
  • An ‘appeal body’ on national level (whistle blowing mechanism) which operational staff could address in case of infringement of Just Culture-related rights;
  •  Internal rules to implement Just Culture principles to be developed and issued at company organisation level;
  • Mandatory reporting of aircrew fatigue.

The regulation will enter into force by May 2014 but it will apply only 18 months later (i.e. Nov 2015). In the meantime, preparations will be made to adopt the necessary implementing regulations and to develop necessary guidance material and IT applications for the recording, exchange and analysis of information. The regulation represents a significant step towards overcoming reporting barriers and setting up a proactive approach to prevent air accidents and loss of life.  Learn more about Occurrence Reporting in Europe here.