Sikkim News Update

Experts claim that despite Boeing’s attempts to improve it, the company’s safety culture is inadequate

<p>According to a panel of independent experts, there is a “disconnect” regarding safety culture at Boeing between top management and staff, and those in charge of inspecting the company’s aircraft wonder whether they can voice concerns without worrying about facing consequences.</p>
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<p>Government and aviation industry specialists have also said that Boeing’s safety protocols and training are in a state of perpetual flux, which causes uncertainty among staff members.</p>
<p>A report submitted on Monday to the Federal Aviation Administration included the remarks. After two fatal Boeing 737 Max airplane disasters in 2020, Congress enacted measures to change the FAA’s certification process for new aircraft, which included an order for the research.</p>
<p>Boeing is reevaluating safety after the burst of an emergency door panel on an Alaska Airlines Max aircraft last month. After the aircraft was repaired at Boeing’s Renton, Washington, plant, fasteners that were supposed to keep the panel in place went missing, according to a preliminary report from accident investigators.</p>
<p>Employees of Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers have been doing some quality-checking for the FAA on their behalf since 2005. Critics in Congress said that after the 346 fatal Max accidents in 2018 and 2019, Boeing officials had placed excessive pressure on staff members to approve work done for the FAA.</p>
<p>“We’ve taken important steps to foster a safety culture that empowers and encourages all employees to share their voice,” a statement from Boeing said. However, more still has to be done.</p>
<p>According to the expert panel, Boeing has implemented measures that lessen the possibility of workers facing reprisals for reporting safety issues. “The restructuring, while better, still allows opportunities for retaliation to occur,” it said.</p>
<p>Airlines are lining up massive backlogs with Boeing in order to receive new, more fuel-efficient aircraft. The business is now producing 38 737s a month, up from its previous pace of 32.</p>
<p>Critics have long lamented pressure on Boeing staff not to slow down the manufacturing line by pointing out possible issues. One such critic is Ed Pierson, a former senior manager on the 737 program who is now the director of a nonprofit safety group.</p>
<p>In a recent interview, Pierson said, “There is a culture where employees on the front lines are learning to keep their mouths shut because a fear… something could happen to them.” “Move the plane down the line, move the plane down the line,” is the pressure. “Stop, let’s fix it, let’s do it right” is not the approach.</p>
<p>Last month, in a memo to staff, CEO David Calhoun encouraged them to speak out.</p>
<p>“No one knows better than our factory floor workers what we need to do to improve. According to Calhoun, “We should always encourage any team member who raises issues that need to be addressed.” He made a commitment that Boeing would take its time and do the job correctly after the Alaska Airlines disaster.</p>
<p>The panel’s experts said that “serious quality issues with Boeing products became public” while they were working, but they denied that Congress had instructed them to look into any particular incidents or accidents. Their worries that safety-related procedures “are not being implemented across the entire Boeing population” were heightened by those incidents.</p>
<p>The group gave Boeing 50 suggestions, one of which was to develop a plan within six months to address the experts’ concerns and submit it to the FAA. Three suggestions were given to the FAA by the group.</p>
<p>“We will hold Boeing to the highest standard of safety and will work to ensure the company fully addresses these recommendations,” the FAA said.</p>