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Canadian Safety Board's Annual Watchlist Highlights SMS, Fatigue

Transportation Safety Board of Canada calls for fatigue regulation and improved Safety Management Systems.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has released its annual watchlist, highlighting safety issues across all modes of transportation. For aviation, Safety Management Systems (SMS) and fatigue management remain top priorities.

Fatigue was named as a contributing factor in 34 aviation-related TSB incidents in the last 25 years. Citing a recent U.S. National Transportation Safety Board report naming pilot fatigue as a contributing factor in an Air Canada aircraft’s near-miss of a crowded taxiway, the TSB renewed its call for modernizing flight duty-time regulations and finalizing a March 2017 proposal that would impose more stringent pilot limitations.

While the maintenance engineer duty-time regulation is not specifically addressed in the annual report, the watchlist is closely aligned with a 2017 Canadian Parliament committee report, which noted “the importance of adequately managing fatigue at all levels within the commercial aviation industry, as fatigued aircraft maintenance engineers . . . can . . . pose serious risks to aviation safety.”

The TSB watchlist also calls for expansion of current SMS requirements to all commercial operations—to include air taxi and commuter operators and companies that maintain their aircraft—and better oversight of current SMS systems to ensure “effective risk-mitigation measures are being implemented.”

Finally, the TSB calls for quicker response to its own recommendations, stating “the slow pace of the regulatory process to implement TSB recommendations only serves to perpetuate safety risks, putting Canada behind some international standards.” The report cites more than 60 outstanding recommendations, a third of which are more than two decades old.

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