Human Factors Team Resource Management (TRM)

In 1979, NASA investigated the cause of accidents within their aviation/aerospace programmes and discovered the causal factors were not always through design or mechanical failure. Human error was cited as a contributing factor, therefore, NASA set out to develop a training programme that identified the non-technical behaviours that led to the 'human' making mistakes. This concept was termed 'Cockpit Resource Management (CRM)'.

In the early 80's, United Airlines took the CRM concept and developed it, adding further human factor modules and then delivered this to their company pilots.
In 1989, United Airlines flight 232, a DC-10 out of Denver en-route to Chicago, under the command of Captain Al Haynes, suffered catastrophic damage to the number two (centre) engine. The damage caused all three hydraulic lines to fail, an unprecedented problem that made the aircraft almost impossible to fly or land.
Including the cockpit and cabin crew, on board that day was an off-duty Training Captain called Denny Fitch. He came forward during the emergency and assisted the flight crew in getting the aircraft to Sioux City, Iowa where it made an almost impossible landing. Of the 296 people on board, 111 died in the crash, however, miraculously 185 passengers and crew survived.
Captain Al Haynes and the rest of his cockpit crew suffered severe injuries, but he survived and years later stated the following;

...the preparation that paid off for the crew was something ... called Cockpit Resource Management.... Up until 1980, we kind of worked on the concept that the captain was THE authority on the aircraft. What he said, goes. And we lost a few airplanes because of that. Sometimes the captain isn't as smart as we thought he was. And we would listen to him, and do what he said, and we wouldn't know what he's talking about. And we had 103 years of flying experience there in the cockpit, trying to get that airplane on the ground, not one minute of which we had actually practiced, any one of us. So why would I know more about getting that airplane on the ground under those conditions than the other three. So if I hadn't used [CRM], if we had not let everybody put their input in, it's a cinch we wouldn't have made it.

In the early 90's, the aviation industry realised that the safety of air travel wasn't just dependant on the skills and knowledge of the pilots, but there were other safety professionals on board that were integral to flight safety; the cabin crew. Therefore, the term Cockpit Resource Management developed into Crew Resource Management and became mandatory to be delivered on Initial and Recurrent aircrew training programmes.

In the past 20 years, our industry has improved, refined and developed excellent CRM training courses that have improved the safety of air travel for passengers and aircrew. It has broken down the hierarchy, opened up channels of communications, improved team interactions and decision making, increased situational awareness, lessened human error and made aviation a safer form of transportation for all.

Human Factors Team Resource Management (TRM) has evolved from CRM and is mandatory for Air Traffic Controllers, and been introduced into the medical environment to improve patient safety outcomes.

Nuclear, Energy and other safety critical industries are now understanding the benefit of Team Resource Management programmes in an effort to reduce accidents within their industry sector, they are now investing in their own bespoke, industry specific TRM programme to help reduce human errors, incidents, accidents and fatalities.

At Aviation Worldwide Training, our training team have been instrumental in designing and delivering human factor TRM Programmes for these industries.

We have experience of how other safety critical industry professionals operate; why people deviate from operating procedures, take short-cuts, lose situational awareness and ultimately make poor decisions which increases the risk of a negative outcome to the individual, team and organisation.

We facilitate group discussions, involve the audience to share experiences within an open and honest environment. We provide tools and techniques to help identify the observable and latent threats that may exist in their environment, and how to avoid, trap and mitigate against them.

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Photography courtesy of Alan Grubelić and Jan Jasinski