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Human Factors in Aviation has been a permanent subject when Safety is
considered. As flight systems´ and equipments´ development has become more
reliable, measurable and controlled, a large part of air transportations
professionals´ studies are focused on who operates the machines, and how they
are socially and psychologically prepared to do it.
“It is involved with the study of the human's capabilities, limitations,
behaviors and the integration of that knowledge into the systems designed for
them with the goals of enhancing safety, performance, and the general
well-being of the systems´ operators (Koonce, 1979)”.
GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, the largest low-cost and low-fare airline in
Latin America, with 800 daily flights to 49 destinations in Brazil, South
America and Caribbean, which operates a fleet of Boeing 737 Next Generation
aircraft, since its foundation, in 2001, developed a clear and respected Safety
Philosophy, expressing the commitment of the Board to all employees.
Following the best practices in aviation worldwide, GOL decided to give even
more attention to this tendency with the creation of an exclusive Human Factors
Department, joining the other three areas of the SMS (Safety Management System)
Directory: Quality Assurance, Security and Operational Safety departments.
Figure 1 – Gol´s Job Chart. Source: Internal website:
Also attending to international rigorous standards concerned with Operational
Safety and Quality, Gol reached the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit)
certification in May 2009. A few months before this achievement, in Nov 2008, a
dedicated Human Factors area was created to study and act on questions
concerned mainly with CRM (Corporate Resource Management), LOSA (Line
Operations Safety Audit), TEM (Treat Error Management), Ergonomics, Behavior,
Attitude, Corporate Relationship, Flight Schedule, Food, Hotel, Transport,
Judgment Chain and Stress.
In order to allow a participative management between the flight group and Human
Factors Dept, Gol has included in its AQD (Aviation Quality Database) reports,
a specific form to receive voluntary occurrences (identified or not), which are
stored, solved and answered by the office staff.
Below, find the Human Factors´ AQD electronic form (Figure 2) and 2009 Human
Factors´ Event Descriptors Statistics (Figure 3):
Figure 2 – Human Factors Electronic Form. Source: Internal website:
Figure 3 – Human Factors Event Descriptors Statistics 2009. Source: AQD, 2010.
To illustrate the effectiveness of this voluntary reporting approach, Gol
presents an interesting result to the end of the year (2009), with Human
Factors the second highest reporting mentioned, when compared to others (Figure
Figure 4 – Report Statistics by Occurrence Type 2009. Source: AQD, 2010.
In spite of a short current period in 2010, it is already possible to identify
the growing forecast of this type of report. The Human Factors area has been
the most pointed theme in GOL´s Quality Database. It represents the emphasis of
treatment and resolutions that were applied in 2009 in this area:
some problematical hotels were changed, regarding to lack of darkness, silence
and well-being of technical and commercial crew;
an important Ergonomic problem – inside the cockpit - was solved due to
employees´ belief and completion of forms;
in several flight schedules hazards were identified which resulted in crew
rosters modifications, since some of them were stressing and tiring, mitigating
corporate relationship problems have been managed with more effectiveness.
Figure 5 – Report Statistics by Occurrence Type 2010. Source: AQD, 2010
Arenda Freitas de Oliveira
Quality Assurance Senior Analyst at GOL
Master graduated in Safety at ITA - Brazil
SMS Directory is held by Capt. Sergio Quito (email@example.com)
and Human Factors Department is managed by Capt. Paulo Pardal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Capt. Fernando Rockert de Magalhaes is the Technical VP of GOL Airlines and
supports all the Operational Areas involved with SMS