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Maintenance Minute - November 2023 | Focus

Posted 194 days ago ago by Admin

When I first started my civilian aircraft maintenance career many years ago, my friend and mentor Buddy Evans told me that as aircraft mechanics we are not afforded the luxury of a mistake. I understood what Buddy was saying but I thought, how can we, as humans, not make mistakes? It’s in our nature. “To err is human,” is the famous quote credited to Alexander Pope in the 1700’s. I soon realized that what Buddy was trying to communicate to me was that I must take every precaution to mitigate the risk of errors.

There are hundreds or maybe even thousands of things that are in competition for our attention every minute of every hour of every day. Anything that causes an interruption or changes our attention is a distraction. One of the biggest distractions today is the cell phone. My belief is the modern-day cell phone can be a very useful tool. The mechanic can look up manuals, FAR’s, take quality pictures and talk with maintenance control. But in the same respect, it can be a huge distraction when the mechanic is checking emails, text, and his social media account. Don’t say it doesn’t happen because I know it does. Other distractions/interruptions come from small talk, visitors, appointments, and countless other things that bombard us throughout the day.

We can follow all of the industry recommendations such as going back three steps, using checklist and a variety of other safety nets but the truth is we as aviation mechanics and aviators must be self-disciplined and maintain our focus. In order to maintain focus, we must eliminate distractions whenever possible.

The first step in being disciplined is to understand and acknowledge that it is our responsibility to do the job right. We maintain the mechanical integrity of the aircraft by paying attention to what we are doing at all times.

At our facility, everyone has annual training to include aviation human factors and the dirty dozen. We discuss it weekly, so we don’t become complacent.  We keep it a constant reminder. If you want to be safe and to work safely, then you will need to work intentionally and to be intentional in everything you do. If we truly want everyone to go home to their families each day, then we must focus and eliminate distractions because we surely can’t afford the luxury of a mistake.

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