Bulletin 1 – Mitigating Human Factors Hazards in the Context of the Operating Environment during and post COVID-19

Many aviation-related organizations have taken steps to help crews, dispatchers and controllers deal with changes in the physical and psychosocial environment owing to the impact of COVID-19, both at work and in their personal lives. Maintaining this focus on COVID-related human factors challenges and staying proactive is important to ensuring continued high levels of safety as operations ramp up. Appropriate resources and tools to minimize the mental health impact of COVID-19, including peer support programs, will play an important role in ensuring staff well-being throughout the recovery. 

Restarting a complex system, such as aviation, is not a linear process. The impact on staff in airlines, ATCOs and the aviation supply chain could lead to a different risk landscape which can, by extension, introduce new operational and safety challenges. Additionally, traffic recovery is expected to be volatile and the ramp up may be different than anticipated. Therefore, local safety management systems (SMS) should address COVID-19 related concerns including the biological and psycho-social risks and their interactions with aviation safety. In addition, creating a supportive environment for aviation personnel can help maintain self-wellbeing. 

To better understand the impact that post COVID-19 operations-related challenges could have on human factors, CANSO, IFATCA, IFALPA and IATA conducted a safety risk assessment. The safety risk assessment (SRA) example, provided at the end of this bulletin, was reviewed, and used to shape a webinar organized on 20 May 2021. This joint bulletin is an update of Bulletin 1, which was issued in 2020, and is a result of the revised SRA and the webinar.

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