Australia military and safety culture

Australia is accumulating a considerable body of knowledge about safety cultures in workplaces.  Sadly most of the information comes from inquiries into disasters that involve multiple fatalities.  The UK has its body of knowledge from oil-rig explosions and train crashes.  Australia’s is predominantly from mining disasters, gas plant explosions and, also, train crashes.

Now according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Defence Force also has a deficient safety culture.  In some ways this is of greater concern than such criticisms of private sector disasters as one would expect the military to have greater control over issues such as equipment maintenance, and staff conduct due to its regimented command structure.

ABC’s AM program reported that the board of inquiry findings into the crash of a BlackHawk helicopter on the deck of a navy ship in 2006, identifies

“.. a culture of risk taking and sloppy safety standards in the army’s elite helicopter squadron.”

According to media reports

“The inquiry’s final report found senior pilots in the Sydney-based 171 Squadron had a culture of aggressive flying, safety procedures were slack and the reporting of incidents involving engine failures and other safety breaches was haphazard,..”

A video report on the board of inquiry which includes film of the crash is available online.

Categories aircraft, government, military, OHS, safety culture, UncategorizedTags ,

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