You can easily identify an organised person by the order and sequence he follows in carrying out tasks. Not only in official or work situations but even in the domestic, household attendances. Such a person will have standard and regular approaches to particular tasks and at the end of them, the deal is accomplished as desired. As much as possible, he does not deviate from following the ways he has fashioned out or already structured out. One way or the other, we engage in this. The question is, “how well?” Normal day to day activities like putting on your shoes, taking your bath, house chores etc. When you invest and engage in such a design, you are not likely to miss the goal, especially when the progressive steps to follow were designed by people who have technically seen through the process to the point(s) of achieving results.
In aviation, this is called “Checklist”. Much of technical and professional works involved in flying are characterised by checklists, i.e. checking the list. For every particular aspect of the work, whatever the airline, in as much as the equipments worked on are the same, the checklists are generic. This brings about among other advantages:
- Uniformity of procedures
- Ability to generally monitor work progress
- Guaranteed procedure for worker to depend on
- Assistance at any stage required
- Ease of duty change/handing over
- Certainty of desired results
- Work transparency
Checklist is thus a thought out and documented procedure to be evidently followed to achieve or perfect a goal. With the variety of divisions leading to safe flights, before, during and after flights (to guarantee a safe next-flight), every aspect follows a set of standard procedures that will be worked into and with other aspects to bring a about the harmony that leads to the successful flight. Such checklists are designed in such a way that the use is clearly evident and must be attested to before a flight or some other task is commenced. During the flight or task, some other forms of observance are also checked. Personnel are trained in the use of the checklist as in the carrying out of their works too. The reasons for the adoption of checklists in aviation, which is mandatory in most cases, cannot be too far-fetched. They include:
- Enormity of work processes
- Diversity in work process
- Desire for/sensitivity to perfection. No error, no compromise
- Assurance that the procedure will yield the desired result
- Seamless coordination with other areas of work for an outcome
- Proof of personnel’s knowledge of his/her job
- Easy discovery of discrepancies
- Ease of correction to faults
- Confirmation of adherence to required norm/standard
- Overall safety
- Designers demand it
Some checklists are statutory, though they still have to go through some trained prying eyes before approval for use. Many of these are in the procedures of works carried out by Engineers and Pilots in aviation. Such statutory checklists are designed by aircraft manufacturers or task designers in most cases to aid the smooth running of their machines or services.
Organisations can also design checklist for tasks in whatever area of work deemed fit that personnel do not deviate from it. These may not require approvals from external bodies from the airline. It is an internal derivative. Such may be employed in the workings of the Dispatcher, Cabin Crew, Catering supply, resumption/ closing of work, change of duty etc. Strictly adhered to, the company’s operation runs smoothly. Such checklists are arrived at by the grandiose collaboration of think-tanks within the organisation as the success of such organisations is hanged on the use. It is open to reviews when updates are thought about and however frequently. Needless to say, if abused or not followed by one arm of the whole operation, it will cause problems for other aspects and such shortcomings to the success of the operation. The good thing is that because of the way it is designed, the negligent personnel or section is easily identifiable. The danger also could be that the negligence could only be discovered and found out when the worst had happened.
If an aspect of one’s work is considered very sensitive and essential, not only in aviation circles, one can take time to draw out a well thought out checklist to aid in carrying out the work. You will agree with me that the human brain is limited. In whatever form we can, we need to help it. Checklists not followed for probably the assumption that one had been carrying out the task for so long and so it has stuck in a disaster waiting to happen. Accidents have been traced many times to such negligence. Airlines should draw up internal procedures that will ensure the enforcement of the use of checklists at all times.
We can now see that an airline saddled with good checklists in all its different areas of workings and abides by it, whether statutory or not, can beat her chest for every flight that takes off to get to the destination.