Closer focus on how to be a risk-guided safety agency

9/7/18, 9:00 AM

The theory of risk-guided steering of agency functions has now also been explored in a scientific publication. New doctoral thesis continues in the same vein as the Finnish Transport Safety Agency’s ‘From Knowledge to Action’ project. The approach has been utilised especially in aviation, but is also useful in other kinds of organisations.

Practical development work in the “risk-guided safety agency” research project

In Summer 2015, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency published the research project’s final report, entitled Risk guided steering of agency functions, From Data to Action (in Finnish, with English abstract). The two-year project involved development of the process for risk-guided steering of agency functions and the necessary knowledge base and methods. As a safety authority for four forms of transport and a solid producer of data resources, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency was a good target organisation for developing risk management. The project focused on increasing readiness for risk-guided decision-making and optimizing the impact in a complex system, making use of the latest research in the field.

From research project to doctoral thesis

The doctoral thesis A Risk Management Framework for a Complex Adaptive Transport System, authored by TITO project researcher Jari Nisula, was approved in March 2018 and has now been published also on the Finnish Transport Safety Agency website as a continuation to the research project’s final report. The goal is to disseminate research material on risk-guided steering so that others can learn and make use of it. The doctoral thesis takes a broad approach to the topic and the Trafi case study forms one of the chapters. The methodology described in the dissertation (A Risk Management Framework) is, however, applicable to many different types of organisations.

How the research project results have been be used by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency

The methods developed were already being utilised in Finnish Transport Safety Agency during the research project. After the project’s completion in 2015, operational development continued particularly in relation to the needs of aviation safety risk management. The systematic formation of a risk picture of Finnish aviation for all aviation domains began in stages from Autumn 2016. Risk pictures are utilised in Finnish aviation safety risk management, and the essential part of this – the FASP process – was developed in Spring 2015 based on the theories of the research project. Press releases regarding work progress are viewable on the Finnish Aviation Safety Management webpages (in Finnish). A description of development work following the research project and of the current status can be found in chapter 2.6 of the Finnish Aviation Safety Programme 2018, which is entitled ‘Hazard / threat identification, safety risk assessment and management (ICAO CE-8)’.

Updated performance indicators

Finnish Aviation Safety Performance Indicators and Targets (FASP Appendix 2) are being updated. A draft version of the updates was published on 20 June for comment by stakeholder groups. The update process is making use of the Finnish aviation risk pictures and feedback received from operators. The updated indicators will be published in September/ October and will come into force on 1 January 2019.

The update is part of the continual development work, following on from the research project, that aims towards a risk- and performance-based aviation authority.

Jari Nisula’s doctoral thesis: A Risk Management Framework for a Complex Adaptive Transport System (Doctoral thesis, Université de Toulouse 3, 1st March 2018),
Chief Adviser Heli Koivu, tel. 029 5346 200, heli.koivu (at), on Twitter @KoivuHeli
Special Adviser Tapani Maukonen, tel. 029 5346 082, tapani.maukonen(at), on Twitter @tmaukonen1