The Air Force Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) is a non-punitive, identity-protected, peer-to-peer observation program that employs a standardized methodology to provide leaders and aircrews with information to assist in managing systemic operational risk.
The program started as a joint effort between the Federal Aviation Administration and university researchers to check the success of Crew Resource Management (CRM) use in the airline industry during the 1990s. Today, LOSAs provide leaders with early warnings of developing safety problems by understanding crew responses to threats, errors and undesirable aircraft states. Threats occur on nearly every flight. A trained, objective, outside observer monitors the natural behavior and CRM on 200-300 routine flights, maintenance activities, or aerial port duties, etc. and records the external threats encountered, the types of errors (i.e. human) occurring, and how those threats and errors were resolved or if they led to an undesirable aircraft state like loss of control, wrong cargo, or incorrect center of gravity. Threat Error Management is a huge part of proactive safety and provides excellent insights into training and organizational culture.
The observations are documented in a safety report that identifies threats and errors impacting everyday operations and provides recommendations for fleet-wide risk mitigation. LOSAs are safety studies, not mishaps, therefore, the reports are not privileged. For over a decade, the program has mitigated hundreds of hazards, produced dozens of reports, and created over 500 mishap-preventing recommendations. The benefits of using LOSA are vast and include, but are not limited to, systematically and scientifically identifying the strengths and weaknesses of normal operations, decreasing the frequency of undesirable events, detecting inappropriate techniques, identifying design issues, and detecting normalization of deviance in the form of workarounds and shortcuts used by aircrew, air traffic controllers and dispatchers. The Air Force Safety Center believes that LOSA can be used with great results in all airfield operations, maintenance and dispatch communities.
This is the cutting edge of mishap prevention. Welcome to LOSA!