A small group of Boeing engineers performing important safety duties have expressed concern about their ability to work without pressure from supervisors, and their comments have given federal regulators a better safety culture for the company. We urge you to investigate widely.
Employees act on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration to approve safety assessments and manage other Federal Aviation Administration tasks, making independence from company pressure important.
According to a letter from the FAA, one of the employees “had to sit down with the manager and explain why he couldn’t approve something.” The workers showed that the company is looking for another employee in the engineering unit.
Another employee spoke of the manager’s amazement when an engineer discovered an error in the design of a component, which could lead to delays in the delivery of the aircraft.
The first FAA investigation was conducted from May to July. FAA officials explained this in an Aug. 19 letter to Boeing aircraft safety and certification officials. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
“We take these issues seriously and continue to improve the processes we implement to ensure the independence of employees working on behalf of the FAA,” said Boeing spokeswoman Jessica Kowal. I’m outside. She said these employees “should be given the same respect and respect that is shown” to FAA personnel.
The FAA interviewed 32 of the approximately 1,400 Boeing employees acting on behalf of the FAA. A third of those questioned expressed concern. The FAA said in a letter to Chicago-based Boeing that it would follow up with an investigation of all employees on the unit.
The FAA’s testing raises further questions about the long-standing practice of leaving safety-related tasks to aircraft manufacturer employees, such as analyzing critical aircraft systems. The policy is to leverage the expertise of employees, and companies empower these workers to perform safety-related functions without interference.
However, the Boeing findings “show that the environment is not conducive to independence,” wrote FAA employee Ian Wong, who assists Boeing’s oversight, in a letter to the company.
The FAA’s policy of relying on safety ratings by industry employees, known as organizational approval, has come under close scrutiny after two fatal crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max. The investigation found that key FAA personnel were largely unaware of the automatic flight control system that caused the crash.
US investigates treatment of Boeing employees for safety | Chicago News